By James Schultz
If you are like me, a student at Dominican University, you may find it easy to understand the difficulty of being a college student. Sometimes the cafeteria food is nasty, or maybe an assignment is forgotten on the day it is due. These problems are minute in comparison to some of the more stressful issues students deal with on a daily basis.
The stress comes from students working while they go to school, from family or from financial issues. Sometimes students simply feel burned out by the workload of their classes. These factors have pushed American college students to the limit, and today thirty percent of college university students drop out after their first year. With only a single year of college under their belt, these students will find it increasingly hard to find a steady, well paying job in the future.
Of the students who dropped out last year fifty percent had yearly incomes lower than $35,000. Universities attract students looking for the perceived notion of success and comfortable living after graduation. Yet, students are still turning down the chance of financial success and dropping out of school anyway.
Many students are finding it hard to pay the high tuition rates universities charge.
Students with financial issues will most likely get jobs on or off campus to help pay for classes. In fact, sixty percent of college dropouts last year had no financial help from either of their parents in paying tuition. Even with the added help of scholarships, loans, and grants, the strain of tuition and other expenses may be too much for some students. Of course, the price of education may not matter if the student is struggling with grades or the workload of college courses.
I talked to Lisa Haydon, academic advisor and teacher of the Mastering College course here at Dominican, to find out how student are doing at Dominican. Haydon believes the most important piece for students to remember is to keep balance between work and play in their lives. She stressed the importance of enjoying free time and said making study sessions with friends is an efficient way to study and relieve stress at the same time.
The other point Haydon made is that students need to realize when they are in trouble and ask for help immediately. She said, "asking for help is as important as it is difficult, but it shows maturity and is pre-solving a problem.”
Dominican students can sign up online to reserve a time when fellow students can tutor them in various subjects. While they may just be students themselves, the tutors have strong academic records and have been referred to the tutoring center by faculty. Kristen Coleman from the Teaching and Learning Center provided further information. She stated, "people mostly come in for Math, Nursing, or Writing; but if a student needs help in another class they can make a request for a tutor for that class.”
Kirsten believes the tutoring program has made good progress in the last three to five years, and that she has received word from several older students that, "they wouldn't be here without it." These academic aid programs have proven to be quite effective, giving Dominican University an average freshman retention rate of 83 percent.
If you find yourself struggling with classes, or start to doubt if college is for you, sign up for tutoring on the Dominican web page, or contact your academic advisor about other helpful programs on campus. Get help, work hard, and soon the stress and anxiety will start to get lighter, along with weight of homework in your backpack at the end of the week.