People with anxiety often take medication to lower levels.

Too much pressure on students to perform? Some say yes

For Eastern Michigan University junior Mackenzie Boismier, anxiety is a tough thing to overcome. With homework, exams, a job and other school related activities, it’s hard to find time to relax. “Just the thought of how heavily the scores of the tests impact our grades or how we do in college in general,” Boismier said when asked what gives her anxiety. “Also, since job markets are so competitive you want to make sure you’re the best so you need to do well on exams.”

According to a 2016 National College Health Assessment survey, 24.4 percent of college students said anxiety has affected their individual academic performance in the last year. This problem affects many students around the country, but what is it exactly?

Alexis West playing in the band at high school graduation. Photo by Alexis West.

Bullying getting less frequent, but more education is needed

For Alexis West, bullying was always something she tried to ignore, but early in her high school years she reached a breaking point. “I tried to ignore it through most of middle school and high school, but in sophomore year I ended up having a major depressive episode that required hospitalization,” West said. “The fact that very few people were even concerned made me feel very alone, which made me feel even worse than what I already felt. So I started putting on weight, which added being fat to the list of things to be mocked about.”

According to Amanda Nickerson, director of the Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention, bullying is the “intent to cause harm and active aggression that can be verbal, physical or relational.”

Bullying is a trend sweeping the state of Michigan. According to a 2016 study done by WalletHub, Michigan has the largest bullying problem in the United States. There are multiple kinds of bullying: including verbal, relational, physical and cyber.

Students studying in Berkey Hall at Michigan State University. Photo by Zachary Manning

Money, tech driving rise in Millennial stress levels

Stress is a state of worry or mental pressure caused by problems in a person’s life that can be caused by a variety of things such as work, family and money. According to a survey done by the American Psychological Association (APA), Millennials (age 18-33)  reported the highest average stress levels in America. The survey also found that Millennials are more likely to say their stress has increased in the past year compared to other generations. However, Millennials are also more likely to say that they do not feel they are doing enough to manage their stress. “I think they (Millennials) take more issues on in terms of what they care about,” said Michigan State physiology sophomore Omar Said.

Before and after shot of Rene Falgout. Photo by Rene Falgout.

Judgmental society making fat-shaming worse

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese and that has given rise to the term “fat shaming.”

“Fat shaming is also known as fat bias/stigma, weight bias/stigma, weightism, sizeism. It refers to both institutional bias and discrimination against fat people as well as bias and discrimination on an individual basis within family and peer groups,” Oregon State University associate professor and clinical psychologist Patti Watkins said. Feminists have made strides in getting more people to understand the concept of body acceptance, but fat shaming still isn’t getting better. “Fat shaming has gotten worse over time,” Watkins said. “Fat shaming has increased exponentially during the period of time since the government declared a war on obesity and we have had the so-called obesity epidemic.”

Watkins also notes that “there is a body of literature known as the obesity paradox literature shows that people in the categories of overweight and the first level of obesity often have no great risk for disease and early mortality than those in the normal body mass index (BMI) category.

Lucas Capalbo watches as his players perform dribbling drills. Photo by Zachary Manning

Do participation trophies hurt our motivation? Some say yes

To give or not to give? That question has become a hot topic over the past couple of years in sports regarding participation trophies. In a Reason-Rupe poll from 2014, results showed that 57 percent of Americans felt only winners should receive trophies, while 40 percent of Americans believed everyone should receive trophies regardless of winning or losing. Sports psychologist Dan Gould believes the 40 percent of Americans that believe everyone should get trophies is higher than previous generations, and says people have begun labeling this generation “the trophy generation.”

“Over the year’s trophies weren’t given to everyone, and now kids get a trophy for everything,” Gould said.  

Gould notes that it depends on what age level you are in, but once kids hit a certain age, they should only be getting trophies if they win because it could hurt the child’s motivation.