Readers’ Forum: 11/12/19

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Restricted Access on Campus

It was the first day of school, and students shuffled hastily into the classroom. I found myself engaged and actively participating in the class discussion. I looked up to observe my peers. Some were browsing the internet on their personal computers, scrolling through Instagram pictures on their cell phones, texting or just daydreaming. Regardless, I tried to stay focused. I never thought an influence like this could distract me; however, I eventually found myself pulling out my own phone and doing the same.

In an article titled “How Social Media can affect College Students and their Mental Health,” the author explains, “One of the biggest challenges college students face today is struggling with mental health.” The greatest challenge is the struggle to concentrate and use time wisely. While universities continue providing students with unrestricted WiFi access, students have the freedom to choose between learning or continuing to scroll, swiping and double tapping on the personal electronic devices they are chained to.

We are responsible for our education, our lives and what we do with them. Unless we can find a way to change our habits, promote healthy lifestyles and make an effective change in the classroom, it will be hard to excel academically and maintain a healthy balance in our lives. Students and teachers would benefit from limiting access to web pages and social media sites on campus. Ratings, education, participation and productivity would rise and professors would find gratification with higher participating audiences.

—Finn Kirk
Salt Lake City, Utah

Regaining control through therapy

I realized something quickly as I began my college career: college is overwhelming. Endless reading, constant due dates, making new friends, countless rejections from girls, following the honor code. I was feeling lots of stress, but I wasn’t finding ways to relieve it. I had heard about Counseling and Psychological Services here on campus, and I tried it out. I went into a walk-in appointment and the counselor listened to my problems and helped me deal with all the built-up stress in my life.

We, as college students, need to use counseling to manage the stress of life and face our
problems. There is a stigma that therapy is just for those struggling with mental health problems. But that isn’t true — counseling can be an outlet for all college students. The University of Kansas’s research tells that counseling helps people identify where their stresses and struggles are coming from, and then how to manage and deal with them. Counselors show you there is hope, while teaching you skills for managing stress and facing your problems.

Attending therapy doesn’t mean life will suddenly become easy. The hard days and the struggles are still there, but counseling is an enabler. It enables you to take control of your life. You will no longer be controlled by your stresses or your problems. Instead, you will recognize them for what they are and use the necessary skills to move past them. You may still be hesitant to try out counseling because you are a poor college student, but that doesn’t need to stop you. BYU offers free appointments with a counselor at CAPS. You can call to get on the waitlist for CAPS, but if you really need help like I did, you can go to a walk-in appointment.

I’m not saying that we all need to go to counseling every week for the rest of our lives. We all have different needs. Sometimes it only takes a couple of visits, but those visits can change your life like it changed mine. It gave me control. So, go and take control of your life by meeting with a counselor.

—Harrison Stephan
Nampa, Idaho

Standardized testing: a necessary evil

Standardized testing has become an increasingly regular part of our education today. We have all experienced these stressful situations before, which raises the question: why are we continuing to allow others to suffer like we did? Through choosing to only focus on the negative aspects of these tests, many fail to see that standardized testing can actually benefits students’ education.

Standardized testing allows students to show how well they perform on a timed, academic exam. Results from standardized tests allow students to show how well they compare to other students academically on an equal and fair battlefield. They also allow schools to make changes, if necessary, to their curriculum and how they teach, improving education system for the students.

Although standardized tests have many benefits, many argue that they cause too much stress, having negative effects on the brain. But there is just simply not another method of testing that could accomplish what standardized testing does in such an efficient manner.

So how can students reap the benefits of standardized tests without suffering from all the stress and anxiety that comes with them? Many students view standardized tests as a one-try-only thing, but these tests can be taken more than once with the opportunity to improve each time. By changing how we view these tests to something more positive, instead of the end-all view we all gravitate toward, we can change that stress into success.

—KD Salmon
Alberta, Canada

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