A look inside the mental health of a college student (includes photo essay)

Young adults constantly find themselves on autopilot due to society’s expectations for things like getting into college, finding a job or becoming wealthy. However, these thoughts can drive a negative shift in mental health. A study from the Mayo Clinic Health System reported that 1 in every 3 college students suffer from anxiety.

It might be difficult for students to go about their day without experiencing stress or anxiety. The crushing feeling and negative effects of anxiety seem to be a topic that most college students can identify with, especially when thinking about their lives after graduation.

This photo essay follows a day in the life of a student, worker, and aspiring nurse. Dayana Morffi displays stress as she takes viewers through her daily tasks. She worries and struggles to concentrate daily. This leads to an all-consuming feeling that leaves her drained. Take a look into Morffi’s day as she battles her anxiety and continues to work towards her dream career.

Morffi checks her planner every day and tends to overanalyze her week. An analysis by the Keiser Family Foundation showed that 1 in every 2 young adults have reported anxiety symptoms. Overthinking is recognized as a symptom of anxiety.
Sources: Statistics involving young adults and anxiety and Young adults and overthinking

Morffi usually feels uneasy and nervous. Thinking about work, school, and personal life situations can all contribute towards these common symptoms of anxiety. She is never just completing a simple task; her mind is constantly going and as she thinks and worries.

A study showed that 8 out of 10 students commute to school. Related factors such as traffic, gas prices, and unreliable transportation tend to contribute to their anxiety. Morffi’s commute to school amounts to 10 hours on the road per week.
Source: PDF on transportation

The University of California Santa Cruz reported that a lack of concentration is a symptom of anxiety. Morffi finds it difficult to concentrate during classes. This creates a domino effect as she can’t complete school work or excel in her classes.
Source: Concentration

Morffi finds herself thinking about her anxiety throughout her day. This leads her into a downward spiral Feeling overwhelmed is one of the most common symptoms of anxiety.
Source: Symptoms

According to Mental Health America, seven in ten college students are stressed about finances. Morffi worries about her finances as she tries to balance her work and school life.
Source: Stressed young adults

Morffi finds herself absentmindedly fidgeting with her rings. Fidgeting is a response to anxiety. It has been reported that it is a coping mechanism that helps improve focus, calm stress, and increase levels of dopamine.
Source: Fidgeting in young adults

Emotional eating has been tied to anxiety. Morffi tends to grab many snacks  in hopes of forgetting about her workload. Experts have said that eating comfort foods releases dopamine. Source:
Emotional eating

According to a survey by the American Heart Association, 9 out of 10 pet owners rely on their animals for stress relief. Studies have shown that pets help manage anxiety. Morffi finds comfort in her dog and likes spending time with her to unwind.
Sources: Pet stress reliever and Pets and mental health

At times, Morffi isolates herself. She admits how her elf-isolating leads to feelings of loneliness and a lost of connection with those around you.
Source: Isolation.

Morffi tries to do yoga as a form of coping and self-care. Studies have shown Yoga lowers stress hormones while increases endorphins.
Source: yoga and anxiety

Gabriela Perez is a senior FIU student majoring in Digital Media and communications/Broadcasting Journalism. After graduation, she would like to work in the entertainment industry as either a magazine editor or as an Anchor/Presenter. Her favorite getaway places are New York City and Los Angeles California. She enjoys reading, watching films, traveling and writing. She hopes to inspire others, to go after what their hearts desire.

Cindy Claros is a senior majoring in Digital Media/Broadcasting Journalism. After graduation, she hopes to work in the entertainment industry and for shows such as "Good Morning America" and "The Real" or start her podcast.

Janetssy Lugo is a student at Florida International University majoring in digital journalism. She loves reading, baking and listening to Bad Bunny. Working at a radio station is one of her goals as well as traveling the world.