The “Endless Stress” of MCC Students

By: Tarra Harden

“Endless stress.”  This is how one MCC student describes her life and she is not alone. According to the APA, “91% of Gen Z college students say they are experiencing high levels of stress.”

Past Generations feel that stress is experienced by everyone, which leaves them wondering what makes Gen Z’s so special.  A stress report published by TIME Magazine states that “Stress levels are high across all generations.”  It’s true, everyone does experience some level of stress during their lifetime.  However, the same article states that “the young adults of Generation Z experience a higher stress level than that of the older Generations.”

Climate change and the poor state of our economy are two of the major stressors for Gen Z.  Due to the blazing wildfires out West, the major flooding in the plain states, and the storm producing destructive tornadoes in the Midwest, Generation Z is worried about the survival of our planet. An article published by Forbes claims that “extreme drought and heat waves are expected to happen every two to three years, with Generation Z bearing the brunt of these disasters.”  Gen Z is also stressed about the state of our economy, due to the increasing cost of living and employers not paying a livable wage.  A lot of people have to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet.  Now imagine having to do that and study for exams.   This is the stressful life of a college student.  According  to the APA, “28% of college students report that they aren’t getting enough to eat, and 31% reported struggling with living arrangements.”

I would like to start a community garden on campus to help ease the stress of MCC students.  Gardening is a great stress reliever and it would give MCC students the perfect opportunity to reconnect with nature, with the bonus of easy access to free fresh fruits and vegetables.  An article published by Southern Illinois University Carbondale states that “Gardening boosts physical activity and improves health through relaxation and connecting with nature.” Due to all of the positive benefits of gardening, college campus community gardens are growing in popularity.

Life of a college student is like that of a garden that is being smothered by the weeds of life.  If a garden isn’t weeded on a regular basis, the weeds will eventually take over and overwhelm the garden, resulting in a  failure to thrive.  Just like the garden, the life of a college student needs to have the weeds of stress reduced on a regular basis or that student will eventually become overwhelmed and stop being a productive member of society. Generation Z is our future and we need to make sure that their lives are bountiful and have a chance to flourish like a beautiful garden.

“Plant Dreams, Pull Weeds, and Grow a Happy Life”.  This is my hope for the students of MCC.