EAST LANSING, Mich. – Finals week stress takes a toll on Michigan State University students, and with a month-long break filled with anything but exams or homework on the horizon, it is undeniably important to take some time to de-stress.
However, winter break is also a convenient and critical time to take steps toward students’ individual career plans, no matter the grade level.
Students collect a cumulation of projects, final exams, and pressures of maintaining a social calendar during the weeks prior to winter break.
Often referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or more casually called “the winter blues,” stress and anxiety in college students pile on like snowfall during the winter season.
The scientific explanation behind SAD suggests that the lack of sunlight during the winter causes a chemical change in the brain due to low serotonin and melatonin production levels. Both chemicals are responsible for normalizing energy, sleep, and overall mood.
According to a study by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 75 percent of mental illnesses, like SAD, are developed before a student reaches 24 years old.
As the blizzards begin and sunlight is less abundant on campus, students are more likely to succumb to their stress and anxieties surrounding finals week.
This also makes it likely for students to lose sight in career planning during the winter break.
Caroline Nens, a lead career peer adviser at MSU, provides her insight and strategies on how to make the jump into career-planning this Winter Break.