Academic Achievement Center helps students keep stress in check

Midterms are upon UConn students — a time many students feel stressed. The Academic Achievement Center's student coaches Brittney Bernardi and Enya Gabaldon helped students identify the key aspects of stress management. (Jason Jiang/The Daily Campus)

We have all dealt with stress, but sometimes it can get out of control or take forms we have trouble understanding. Some aspects of our lives can even generate positive forms of stress. But who wants to stress about their stress? Luckily, the Academic Achievement Center in Rowe 217 has the solution, and just in time for midterms.

The key aspects of stress management come from a number of self-mastery techniques coupled with a deeper understanding and ability to identify when you have come under negative stress. AAC student coaches Brittney Bernardi and Enya Gabaldon went into detail about the different kinds of stress and how it can affect your mental and physical health.

Signs you are experiencing negative stress can include many things such as a loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, irritability, lack of focus and mood swings. If you think you might be under stress but don’t know where it is coming from, the AAC coaches encourage any and all students to come and talk with them.

“We want to put ourselves out there, and for people to know we are here to help you learn. Not only learn about stress management but learning how to learn more effectively,” explained Gabaldon.

Identifying the type of stress you are under is the first and most important part of progression. The two senior psychology majors elaborated that stress and anxiety are two very different things. Anxiety is a mental condition that some need medication to tame. Whereas stress is defined as, “Pressure caused by an imbalance of demand and resources,” this does not always mean that the pressure you experience should make you upset.

A type of stress most students at the event were unaware of, called eustress, is incredibly important for students. It can come from a deadline to help generate motivation or it can come from something fun you are anticipating or planning. Ultimately, this pressure is a good thing and can drive you to do perform better in the arena of your choosing.

The coaches gave the students a highly variable set of tools to help them deal with stress that best fits them personally. They recommended meditation, image association, art therapy and positive self-talk, to keep your head equipped with a healthy perspective.

“I thought the event was really helpful. I personally find that yoga can help reduce stress greatly because it combines meditation and exercise,” suggested eighth-semester communications major, Kailey Troller.

Students were given a prompt and adult coloring book templates to help guide them through the discussion points and keep their minds in a happy place. The prompt was full of introspective questions designed to help each student compartmentalize stress-causing aspects of their life at UConn, followed by a step-by-step guide to taking out test anxiety.

“The coaches put on an informative presentation with lots of different ways of dealing with stress. It really helps to hear about this kind of stuff with midterms going on,” fourth-semester HDFS psychology major Elisia Vega commented.

Everything you need to know about stress and more can be found through the helpful student coaches at the Academic Achievement Center. Walk-ins are welcome, Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays.


Dan Wood is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at daniel.wood@uconn.edu.