Impact of Stress on Academic Performance of Students

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INTRODUCTION
“Stress is a common element in the lives of every individual, regardless of race or cultural background” (Garrett, 2001). On typical late November nights on university of Ghana campus, one would find students at various places even in awkward positions cramming obligated to catch up on studies for papers due in December. This is because deadlines and due dates are non-existent for students until the night before their papers. They engage in student activism, sports, partying and overall good times which lack libraries and study sessions which expel more excitement than the adrenaline rush of a social psychology course material. The days of dress codes and even mandatory class attendance in the university are long gone. But while freedom can be exciting and fun, it can also be stressful because no one is telling you what to do. One has to make a lot of decisions on his or her own whilst readjusting values and normal life. There are bound to be mistakes, but that is part of the process. Attending classes, completing the readings, writing papers, managing projects, and preparing for exams all put a heavy burden on students. Students often complain of professors who assign so much work that they must think theirs is the only class students are taking. Students react to college in a variety of ways. For some students, college is stressful because it is an abrupt change from high school. For freshers at the university, the sudden amount of free time; class that only meet one or two times a week for two hours or so; leads to the development of habits that can impair academic performance and increase stress levels. For others, separation from home is a source of stress because for many students this is the first time they are living independently, and this independence often leads to great stress. University is a time for transitions, and the transition to adulthood may be a hard one. Some students have to come to terms with issues of sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and other deep issues. One may also face roommate issues and peer pressure to take part in all sorts of political and sporting activities. New friends are made and romantic relationships are started which also demand more of a student’s time. There is also the issue of one’s self-image; socially, physically, academically, and this can be a major source of stress. Female students, especially, deal with stress related to weight gain and physical appearance, but all students deal with the stress of how they are perceived. And sometimes it's a vicious cycle; because some people are “stress eaters,” so while being stressed about their body they actually eat to deal with the stress. Although some stress is necessary for personal growth to occur, the amount of stress can overwhelm a student and affect the ability to cope. University life is more than just going to school and making the grades that one desires of himself or herself. The focus of this essay therefore is on stress and how it can affect academic performance.

STATEMENT OF RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In an attempt to research into the implications of stress on the academic performance of student, the following questions would help to better understand the concept of stress and academic performance. * What are the main causes of stress to students?

* What are the implications of stress on academic performance of students? * What mechanisms do students adopt to cope with stress?

PURPOSE STATEMENT
The overall intent of the study is to find out how stress levels affect the academic performance of University of Ghana students. The purpose of this essay of is to offer such a definition and conceptualization of stress in the university in order to facilitate a greater understanding of this important phenomenon. Several propositions and methodological considerations would be suggested after the definition and conceptualization are presented. This essay’s perspective is one of understanding...
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