To do well at university and enjoy your time here, you have to be healthy, both physically and mentally. Unfortunately, UBC undergraduate students report their health to be excellent or very good only 54 per cent of the time.
Stress is an inevitable part of student life but there are ways to mitigate it.
- Seek counselling when stress becomes overwhelming.
- Talk to friends or parents about how you’re feeling.
- Eat properly.
- Get enough sleep and exercise.
- Seek out quiet spaces, meditation or prayer.
At least 65 per cent of UBC undergraduates report that their sleep is inadequate. And almost half of those say sleep problems resulted in a lower mark or failed course. Eighteen year olds usually need nine hours of sleep per night to be well-rested. Regular exercise during the day and relaxation one hour prior to bedtime are helpful, too.
Depression and anxiety
Depression is reported by 8.2 per cent of undergraduates, and more than 70 per cent of those report lower marks or a failed course as a result of depression. Depression is also one of the primary causes of suicidal intentions. Early detection and resolution of depression are extremely important in reducing its impact.
Anxiety, a closely related condition, can reduce concentration and impair a student’s ability to complete assignments, write exams or attend classes. Lack of sleep, overuse of caffeine and other stimulants, and a large academic load can worsen anxiety’s effects.
Some students who have been diagnosed as depressed or anxious stop their treatment as they start university, hoping for a fresh start. Typically, adjustment to university and the academic workload are very stressful in the first term, and often result in relapse. It is wise to remain in treatment for at least the first term of university. UBC offers counselling, medical and psychiatric assessment and treatment for students.
Internet and computer games
Overuse of the Internet for non-academic communications or games has been reported by 45 per cent of undergraduates with 60-75 per cent of those reporting lower marks, dropped or failed courses as a result.
It’s important to connect with family and friends online, and Internet games are often used as a relaxing interlude. However, many students have trouble limiting their use, and suffer as a result. We recommend setting limits on non-academic computer time and using other, healthier ways to relax. Go out and socialize with roommates, play sports or go for a walk.