College Life: Stress has an unpleasant effect on young people too

By Toni Pennello - [email protected]

So much is happening.

I’m in the process of moving, which is one of the most stressful things you can go through. The date of my graduation, as well as my imminent adulthood, are staring me in the face.

I have so many assignments to work on, and big ones at that, you wouldn’t even believe it.

Finals week is fast approaching, and I have cumulative finals in many of my classes. I’ve been lucky enough to never have a mandatory cumulative final throughout my entire college career. What happened? Why now?

My mental health has been better. I can’t remember the last time I ate three full meals in a day. My sleep schedule is a nightmare. I have so little free time, I barely remember what my hobbies are.

I have bills to pay, and navigating that new responsibility in my life is challenging.

If you were to ask me how I was today, and I decided to give you an honest answer, I would tell you that I am stressed. As someone prone to answering those questions honestly, I have been in this situation, and a common response I receive is as follows:

“You’re too young to be stressed. You don’t know what stress is.”

I certainly don’t have it as bad as other people, and I’m well aware of that. I can’t possibly imagine the experiences of other people, so, yes, I don’t know what stress is to other people.

I don’t have children, for example. That sounds incredibly draining. I’m thankful that I only have one mouth to feed, and that is my own.

I don’t own a home. I don’t have a soul-crushing job.

These are all things that I can’t imagine having to deal with. I would never pretend to understand what those things are like. They affect everyone differently based on a variety of factors.

However, no one knows what my stress is either. Whether someone is 20 or 85, you have no idea what that person is going through.

If you don’t know what someone’s life is like, it’s generally accepted that it’s incredibly rude to dismiss their experience.

But for some reason, to do this based on someone’s age is perfectly acceptable.

Age by itself is not usually a huge source of stress — rather, perhaps, the things that come with aging are a greater factor — and it certainly does not determine how stressed someone is. I don’t think stress levels are measured based on age alone.

I think it’s important to avoid dismissing people’s experiences, especially when your knowledge of that person is limited. Everyone is entitled to their own feelings.

No matter what the causes, or the person’s age, stress is unpleasant, and has similar affects based on its severity.

By Toni Pennello

[email protected]

Toni Pennello is a Wilkes University senior who works in the Times Leader news room.

Toni Pennello is a Wilkes University senior who works in the Times Leader news room.