How Can We Help?: Strategies for Instructors to Alleviate Undergraduate Student Stress
Keywords:stress, COVID-19, undergraduate student stress
Stress is becoming synonymous with the undergraduate student experience. Stress can be a productive motivator for students, but unhealthy levels can create distress, which can cause students to experience burnout and health issues. In this study, students were enrolled in a course and asked to provide feedback on levels of stress to instructors while undergoing a stressful phenomenon, the COVID-19 pandemic. Analysis of qualitative student reflections identified themes that contributed to student distress including academic stress, financial/work stress, personal stress, university-related stress, family-related stress, and interpersonal stress. Undergraduate students reported their highest levels of distress related to academic stress. While some students did not believe faculty should be responsible for reducing their stress, others provided tangible strategies for reducing distress. Strategies that faculty can implement to reduce their students’ distress include being more flexible with due dates and assignments, reducing student’s unnecessary workload, and coordinating due dates with other faculty in their programs.
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