Students feel the heat as they reach the end of the term

Apr 5, 2024 | Culture, Life

Abdul Rehman Kasim, a first-year Humber web development student from the Middle East, is juggling to finish multiple assignments but with very little time.

“Honestly, if I could buy time, I would because I’m running out of time,” he said. His coursework is heavy, and he finds it hard to balance.

However, Kasim always looks forward to weekly Lego building sessions in the Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation, which are part of his classes.

It’s a stress reliever, he said.

A lady with bangs and wearing red lipstick smiling at the camera.

Stephanie Kersta holds a Master of Science in Psychology with dual specialties in mental health/addictions. She also has an Honour Bachelor of Science with a specialist in Psychology. Kersta specializes in anxiety, stress, and sleep/insomnia. Photo credit: Stephanie Kersta

During this busy and stressful time of the year, Stephanie Kersta, a registered psychotherapist, said there needs to be a balance between people’s sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

The sympathetic nervous system is an alert and aware feeling people have, while the parasympathetic nervous system restores the body to a state of relaxation, Kersta said.

When there is an unbalance within the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, depending on the student, they can experience more irritability or be prone to burnout, sleep issues, mental health, and a low immune system, she said.

Some activities that tap into the parasympathetic nervous system are doing simple, enjoyable things, including going for a walk, dancing or yoga, Kersta said.

Other activities include deep breathing exercises and mindfulness meditation, she said.

“I like box breathing,” Kersta said. It involves four steps, each of four seconds: inhaling, holding the breath, exhaling and holding again.

A girl with brown hair smiling and sitting in a lounging area.

Racquel Echeverria, a final-year student in the cosmetic management program, was reviewing her notes in the LX lounge at Humber College North. Photo credit: Eleanor Kate Iglesia

Students like Racquel Echeverria, a final year cosmetic management student, said her stress looks different depending on the situation.

“Sometimes I just need a break, and I need to breathe so I can focus on what I am doing,” she said. “Other times, the stress helps and motivates me to do my work.”

A couple of stress-relieving activities have been listening to music or hanging out with friends, Echeverria said.

Other students, like Giulia De Almada Guerini, cope with their stress differently once the anxiety starts to rise.

A girl with curly black hair smiling at the camera.

Giulia De Almada Guerini, a first-year Graphic Design student, sitting in a booth at Humber College North. She just finished her morning class and spent time with her friend discussing the remainder of the semester. Photo credit: Eleanor Kate Iglesia

De Almada Guerini, a freshman in the graphic design program, said overthinking about the heavy workload causes her to get very overwhelmed.

“I start making lists so I can organize everything that I’m doing,” she said. “I feel like I’m at peace of mind when I start making lists and organizing myself, so I know that I’ll be able to finish everything on time.”

Taking a walk in the park, reading for a few minutes and watching a show are other ways to decompress, De Almada Guerini said.