College Students

Abstract

Students experience pressure of performing better in their academic life every day. It has been observed that most students fall ill at the end of the semester compared to other times in the term. This paper aims at examining in detail the relationship between such illnesses, the lack of adequate sleep, and the abuse of prescribed stimulants, which is very prevalent at the end of the semester.

 

Introduction

All academic institutions section their studying periods into various terms or semesters. The semesters are generally associated with unique courses and activities that students are expected to participate in. A particular date is normally set to mark the beginning of a semester. Students are expected to access the contents of a certain course within a specified period of time, after which the course is concluded at the end date of the term. The term dates are very crucial, and students are usually expected to adhere to the rules and regulations of the institution, which stipulate that each student should attend all classes and participate fully in the course by completing the assignments on time, as well as passing various tests. Failure to take part in a certain course as expected by the institution can result in withdrawal from that particular section. It means that the student may be suspended from the course, and he/she can only take it again after re-enrollment.

For most students, there is a huge difference between the beginning of the semester and its end. When the semester begins, students are usually very excited and motivated to engage in their studies. The majority of them are normally focused on precise goals that they would like to achieve at the end of the semester. However, as the time passes, the focus is usually lost as most of students become unmotivated. Consequently, as the end of the term approaches, they begin to realize that they have not utilized their time properly as it was expected at the beginning of the semester. Some of the goals that they had set at the start of their courses seem very far-fetched, hence the pressure to perform better in their end exams intensifies. It is believed that most students become ill during the finals week of studying compared to other times of the semester.

Discussion

Lack of planning by a student can cause great panics, especially when they know that final exams are approaching. It can be very stressful for most students as they struggle to read all the information of the course in such a short period of time. It has been noted that a larger number of students normally fall ill at the end of semester compared to other times. One of the leading causes of illness is lack of sleep. In an attempt to cover an extensive amount of course content in a short period of time, students normally go to bed very late, which might cause sleep deprivation, especially if the habit continues for a significant amount of time. Sleep is very vital for proper learning and memory (Mander, Santhanam, Saletin, & Walker, 2011). There is normally a significant relationship between the amount of sleep and a persons capacity to function during a day. Inadequate sleep is believed to have very serious long-term and short-term consequences.

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Lack of enough sleep can lead to poor health. Various studies have revealed that people who do not have enough sleep are normally at risk of suffering illnesses compared to their counterparts who receive a sufficient amount of sleep. Short-term effects of inadequate sleep include lack of focus, irritability, and fatigue (Eliasson & Lettieri, 2010). It is important to note that lack of enough sleep on a regular basis can lead to grave health conditions, such as cardiac diseases, high blood pressure, and diabetes. All these medical conditions are referred to chronic diseases, and they can shorten a persons life expectancy. There are two types of studies that have been conducted to determine the relationship between chronic diseases and sleep deprivation. They are known as cross-sectional epidemiological studies and sleep deprivation studies.

There is a predominance of sleep disorders, especially among college students. Approximately 70% of college students are reported to receive insufficient amount of sleep, while 50% remain sleepy during the day (Lund, Reider, Whiting, & Prichard, 2010). A survey that was conducted on 1,845 college students showed that the percentage of those who are considered at risk was 27%. Additionally, there is a huge disparity between the sleeping patterns for college students at the beginning and at the end of the semester. Most of them are usually sleep deprived at the end of the term than at its beginning (Owens, Carskadon, Millman, Wolfson, Braverman, & Murray, 2014). College students are believed to form the largest percentage of a sleep-deprived population. Research that was conducted by Brown University at the end of the semester indicated that approximately 11% of the students reported good sleep, while 73% had sleeping problems.

The abuse of prescribed stimulants is also listed as another cause of increased illnesses among students at the end of the semester. College students are known to abuse prescribed medicine more during the end periods of their studying. It is a time when exams are approaching, and pressure becomes great on students to perform excellently. It has been observed that most students take stimulant drugs at the end of the semester in order to increase their productivity and concentration span. Academic pressure and the need to maintain focus during late-night studies has caused many students to turn to stimulants, which is a very dangerous behavior. Disturbing statistics indicate that more than 30% of college students have abused prescribed stimulants at some point of their college life (Vincent, Garnier-Dykstra, Arria, & Laura, 2012). Abuse of drugs has very hazardous effects on a persons health as most people take them without proper knowledge of the side effects of such medications. Painkillers and depressants are the most commonly abused drugs among college students (April, Young, Natalie, Jennifer, & Havens, 2012). A survey performed on a selected group of students indicated that the rate at which they abuse stimulants is very high. In addition, more than 20% of them are reported to abuse prescription stimulants to manage their everyday academic demands (Alison, Kyle, Young, & Mitch, 2013). At the end of the semester, most students are usually overworked and overstressed, and it results in many of them to turn to stimulants, such as RX stimulants, in an attempt to manage stress.

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The main reason why students abuse the RX medication is to achieve focus while studying and especially if they want to stay awake for longer periods of time. A survey conducted on young adults indicated that approximately 41% of them abuse RX medication to stay awake while studying. A psychiatrist at the Miami University affirms that students should be assisted in learning how to manage their time and their busy schedules effectively. It can help reduce the abuse of stimulants when they are under academic pressure, particularly at the end of the semester. In a misguided effort to try and improve their academic performance, students often turn to this hazardous action (Niloofar, Brian, & Ellen, 2013). Discontinuing the use of the stimulants can result in severe health issues, such as depression, fatigue, and even sleeping problems. There are also physical symptoms that are associated with withdrawal from stimulants. They include nausea, sweating, nervousness, and shaking (Dussault & Weyandt, 2011). The commonly abused drugs are usually addictive, and it explains why a person experiences the mentioned symptoms, if he/she discontinues their use (Hartung et al., 2013). Long-term abuse of prescription stimulants can cause grave health effects, which may include increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and escalated body temperatures. Abuse of the stimulants also reduces sleep hours and an individuals appetite, which can have dire consequences to a persons overall health.

Conclusion

Students experience a great pressure every day, especially in their academic life. The academic pressure, however, increases when the semester is approaching its end. Most of the students are normally overworked due to the accumulated amount of assignments that they are required to submit at the end of the term. It is usually caused by the lack of proper time management among the students, which results in procrastinating with their assignments to a much later time. The increased pressure connected to better performance in the exams and tests also makes students overstressed. It has been observed that students are generally falling ill at the end of the semester compared to other times during the sessions. The main causes associated with the poor health are a lack of adequate sleep and the abuse of taking stimulants.

Lack of adequate sleep has been known to cause poor health. At the end of the semester, most students remain awake for very long hours studying, and it has affected their health due to sleep deprivation. The abuse of the stimulants taking has also contributed to the increased illnesses among students at the end of the semester. They take the stimulants to increase their focus and to stay awake for longer hours so they could study. Nevertheless, the students should be made more aware of the effects of abusing stimulants, as well as the lack of sufficient sleep as these are the main causes of poor health among them. Students should be encouraged to organize their time properly by setting up goals at the beginning of the semester and staying focused the entire period to ensure that they achieve them. Procrastination of important academic tasks should be avoided to reduce pressure at the end of the term.

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