by MARGARET WENTE
Stress is a fact of life at university. If you’re not stressed out from time to time, then you’re not paying attention. But now, many universities report that stress has reached epidemic levels. Counselling services are overwhelmed with students who can’t cope. What to do? There’s no shortage of ideas. Offer yoga classes and pet therapy. Get the faculty to “redesign” (lighten) the courses. Provide more accommodation for weak students. Reschedule exams so they aren’t bunched up, and make sure students have lots of breaks between classes. How about late-night snack tables in the library at exam time?
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m extremely sympathetic to the issue of students’ mental health. The transition from adolescence to early adulthood can be really tough. Few students get through university without some encounter with depression, anxiety, panic, hysteria, anorexia, bulimia, loneliness, heartbreak, acute crises of identity or even suicidal thoughts. Some students are more fragile than others. It’s cruel to tell them to just suck it up.