By LIBBY GIBSON, Ranger Reporter:
Your face flushes with a wave of heat. Your ears feel as if they are filled with water. You feel a pin-pricking sensation crawling up your neck. Your chest tightens. Your throat constricts. Your heart pounds, your breathing quickening uncontrollably. Worst of all, you feel as though you are drowning and no one can even see that anything is wrong. No matter how many times you tell yourself this is not real—you are just anxious—the feeling of drowning will not subside.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health problems on college campuses.”
Dr. Beth Rodriguez, a psychology professor at Amarillo College, said that stress, depression and anxiety cause “the inability to sleep, decreased memory functioning and increased inability to concentrate.” The body’s reaction to stress results in depression and anxiety and “one of the main symptoms of depression is lack of motivation and not feeling good enough,” Rodriguez said.
The combination of anxiety and depression inevitably impedes student success “because it stifles the students’ ability to even try because of the fear of messing up,” Rodriguez said.
Some students get angry when under pressure. “I got really stressed about my research paper and took it out on everyone around me,” Cameron Storm, a general studies major, said.
Nursing major Jo Moore said starting college raised her anxiety levels dramatically. “In response to stress, I freak out and make myself worry about it even more.”
Without realizing it, individuals create their own stress through their choices, said Rodriguez. Personal distractions, poor time management skills and disorganization all increase students’ stress levels, leading to anxiety and depression.
“If students understand that we, as Amarillo College, want them to succeed, then together we can alleviate the barriers that are holding them back,” Rodriguez said.