Anxiety around exam time

By: Brittany Eyres

Study rooms are booked full. Students spend late night hours in the university center. Every empty seat in the library is taken. As midterms approach, anxiety may be running high. Merriam-Webster defines anxiety as a feeling of worry, nervousness or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), anxiety and other mental illnesses have increased in college students since 2003 and are continuing to increase every school year.

Defining anxiety

 There are two types of anxiety, according to the APA. Everyday anxiety, which everyone experiences at some point in their life, and anxiety disorders, which can include everything from social anxiety to panic attacks to agoraphobia to separation anxiety to specific phobias.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety is very treatable, but only one third of U.S. citizens seek some sort of treatment, and people are likely to be diagnosed with both anxiety and depression, rather than just one or the other.

The stress to get good grades on midterms and finals, along with keeping up a strong GPA and having a social life during college are a few factors that can contribute to having anxiety.

Anxiety on campus

 In spring 2014, Penn State released a study that found anxiety had passed depression for the highest rate of mental illness in college students. The most common factor that causes anxiety in college students is grades.

The study found that students believe future employers will look at their grades when considering them for employment. This can lead students to become sleep deprived, pick up poor eating habits and even take performance-enhancing drugs that aren’t prescribed to them to help during exams.

Managing anxiety


“Self-care, exercise and time management are the best ways to cope with anxiety,” said Debra Futterman, the director of Henderson Student Counseling.

Futterman said she encourages staying in the present and thinking, “What can I do now?” rather than worry about the future.

“Not all anxiety is bad,” added Futterman. “Anxiety is bad is when it becomes unmanageable.”

According to, when anxiety starts to hinder your normal day-to-day activities, this is when things become unmanageable. If you start to avoid things that you are afraid of, this is another sign that your anxiety may be unmanageable.

With the right knowledge, anxiety can be managed. If you’re unsure about how to manage anxiety, contact Henderson Counseling services at 954-424-6911.

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