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A College Student Finds Out Why Stress And Anxiety Are So High Among Her Peers

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The hostels of my university, Apeejay Stya University in Sohna, have a disturbing reason for why the girls’ hostel has balconies, while the boys’ hostel doesn’t. According to students, back when the university was only an engineering college, a number of male hostellers used the balconies as a means to commit suicide. I still don’t know if that is 100% factual, however, this makes me think of the immense stress college students find themselves dealing with.

As a college student, myself, this was quite relatable for me, and I decided to speak with my peers and do some research on some prime reasons that can cause depression, stress and anxiety among college students.

Where Am I?

One of the major key stress and anxiety causes for college students is being at the university itself. The diversity in people, cultures, and experiences can sometimes be an overload for a student coming from a different background, state or country. It’s even more difficult because many students also find themselves physically cut-off from their support systems and comfort zones, and in a new environment with its own rules and regulations. As soon as you are in college you are expected to be apt and responsible for all your everyday needs such as laundry, feeding, health, bank transactions, formal applications etc. Realising your inadequacies and limitations could result in crippling anxiety and depression.

Who Am I?

Knowing who you are, what you believe and where you belong is an integral part of the university experience. And in most cases, it is a tasking process/ journey because it involves pushing one’s mental, emotional and spiritual limits. The exposure to different people, cultures and ideologies challenges one’s prior understanding of the world as well as their familiar beliefs. This can cause a feeling of isolation in students and in some cases, can even result in an identity crisis. The enormity of these questions and their possible answers, weighs on many students as they feel out of place while on this journey. There is also the big issue of fitting in with peers, which many students have to bend over backwards to achieve.

‘India’s rigid academic system forces you to put too much pressure on yourself, with little to no emotional help.’ For representation only.

Forced To Put Too Much Pressure On Yourself

India’s rigid academic structure and the pressure that exams can put on students needs no introduction. The fact that the system forces you to put too much pressure on yourself, with little to no emotional help, is a feeling all college students know too well. We compete with one another for higher academic grades because our livelihoods depend on it (“Placement nahin hua toh?”). I was constantly under pressure because I was worried that I wasn’t doing enough with my time. This forced me and many of my friends to take up one too many classes, join numerous clubs (that require a lot of energy and time), and look for part-time jobs either to better our resumes or to earn money. Not to mention the pressure of also having an active social life which means going to parties, travelling, maintaining healthy relationships and keeping in touch with those you left at home.

Being Away From Family Doesn’t Mean Being Away From Family Drama

No matter how close and stable your family is, being far away can be strenuous to your relationship with them. Students face parental pressure to perform better and to follow in their cultural/spiritual/ideological footprint which often, we are not able to do, or just don’t want to do! There is also the pressure that comes from home because of unforeseen events i.e. death or illness etc. which can affect the psyche of the student monumentally.

The Money Has To Count

The financial pressure on college students is ridiculous. Coming from a middle-class family means that the bulk of your parents’ savings is going into your higher education, which means failing or not performing well is the same as pouring their money, life’s work and dreams down the drain. The increase in college tuition is becoming more and more rapid, and families are having a harder time keeping up with the inflation. Financial worry leaves many students stressed, anxious and often depressed because they have to think about the strain money has on their lives as well as the tension it leaves on their families. Many students also find themselves studying courses they have no interest in because of the future financial benefits. This leaves the student stressed/mentally ill in college as well as after.

College life is often regarded as the best part of our lives but the truth is it can also be the most stressful. Understanding that stress is a natural part of the experience can be comforting as well as a motivator to teach students the skills required to minimise the stress and combat it in instances where it can’t be controlled.

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  1. Abdemanaf Idris

    hello guys
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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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