By: Dominic Schwab, Staff Reporter
The college freshmen of this academic year may be more depressed than freshmen in years past.
Undergraduate freshmen displayed record low emotional health in a national survey conducted by the University of California at Los Angeles. Those same students simultaneously displayed high levels of ambition to achieve academically.
According to the report, mental health in undergraduate freshmen dropped from 55.3 percent last year to 51.9 percent this year. This year’s score is the lowest reported by the University of California at Los Angeles since they began the survey in 1985.
Conversely, 75.8 percent of those same freshmen rated their desire to achieve academically as above average.
Dominican students, however, did not seem to conform to these national trends of depression.
“I personally don’t feel depressed,” said Becca Duff, a freshman at Dominican. “In fact, college made me feel less depressed.”
“Personally, I would not say that the Dominican freshmen are necessarily depressed,” said Maxwell Harris, another Dominican freshman. “I feel as though they are going through the essential stages of finding purpose in their lives.”
“It’s interesting that [undergraduate freshmen] are becoming more depressed than usual,” said Rick Boyte, a Dominican senior and psychology major.
College counselors believe the two trends may be related. That is, the more ambitious students are to do well in school the more pressure they put on themselves to achieve that goal. This pressure can lead to depression. Especially, notes Boyte, when this pressure and depression are added to the stress of adapting to college life.
“It seems as though [the freshmen of this survey] have really fallen into the pitfalls of college,” Boyte said. “They’re not sure what to major in, they may not be ready to leave home, student loan prices are high and the economy is probably scaring them, too.”
The added component of high ambition levels among this year’s undergraduate freshmen was positive news to Dominican students.
“If [undergraduate freshmen] have an idea of what to go for and are succeeding, then that’s a good thing,” Duff said.
Harris especially noted the ambitiousness of the freshmen this year at Dominican.
“I do believe that there are a lot of genuine freshman who have ambitious intentions to achieve academically,” Harris said.
Boyte offered some advice to freshmen who may be experiencing depression.
“It’s good to be ambitious,” Boyte said. “But college is different from high school. It’s a transition that some may not be ready for.”