October is a month of midterms for most post-secondary students.
To help students deal with this stress Ontario is launching a new mental health help
Line at 1-866-925-5454 for college and university students.
Video by Sarah Armour.
By April Lawrence
Long hours, assignments and tests make stress a very real issue for college students across Ontario.
Ryan Buza, a second-year radio broadcasting student, says his packed schedule can be overwhelming at times.
“I may be overwhelmed at times, but I never feel stressed to the point where I’m losing it,” said Buza.
Buza has seven scheduled classes that run from Monday to Friday and biweekly air shifts on the radio. These shifts are three hours long and can start as early 6 a.m. and run as late as 10 p.m. Each of these shifts is three hours long.
Usually at school for nine to 10 hours each day, he works hard during the week to try to avoid having to do homework on the weekends he said. Buza does this to try to keep stress as low as possible, and uses his weekends to unwind.
“It’s literally just daily living, you know,” said Buza. “I live on my own in a student house so it’s cooking, cleaning, getting ready, sleeping and then being at school and homework.”
Buza currently doesn’t have a job outside of school because he is focusing on getting his internship lined up and finding a job for the summer.
The radio broadcasting program is mainly assignment-based work, said Buza.
“Most people, I guess, from the outside looking in, would say that, that’s relatively easy,” said Buza. “Something may be easy but it’s very time consuming.”
Some days, he even has to come into the school early just to book studio time to work on his assignments during breaks in his scheduled classes.
There are days when Buza will have breakfast at six in the morning and not get to eat again until after noon.
He said when he feels the stress is starting to get to him, he likes to focus on sports and spend time with his girlfriend. A self-described avid sports follower, he loves watching, following and reading up on sports.
“I feel like that kind of calms me down and takes me away from the assignments or projects that I may have,” said Buza.
When stress becomes too much, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities has funded a new 1-800 number called Good2Talk specifically for Ontario college students to call. The helpline was created by Kids Help Phone, Connex Ontario, 211Ontario and the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health.
The coordinator of counselling services at Loyalist College, Adam Gosney, said any service that’s aim is to create another opportunity to connect and support students that are seeking assistance is good. He hasn’t heard any experiences yet from students using the helpline.
For students dealing with stress that aren’t comfortable using the helpline, or just want tips for coping with stress, Gosney said taking one thing at a time is big help.
“When you look at everything at once, it’s hard to breathe,” said Gosney.
As for Buza, he doesn’t think he would use the Good2Talk helpline because of his own strategies for coping with stress, but he said he would recommend it to friends and peers if he saw them struggling and about to fall apart.