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Anxiety and tensions run high among many university students during this stressful time of year.
Similar thoughts are silently shared: “I can’t do this. I’m not good enough. My classmates are all smarter than me.”
It’s something fourth-year Ryerson student Daniel Fernandez-Palmieri is all too familiar with and it’s what inspired him to organize the Surviving to Thriving workshop for Ryerson’s Mental Health Awareness Week. His mission was to help fellow students combat these negative thoughts.
“I feel like this was a great opportunity for me to bring this (background in stress management) to others,” he said.
As a student majoring in sociology with a minor in psychology, Fernandez-Palmieri knows about how academics can impact stress levels. After walking away from a course last fall with an unexpected C-, he made it his goal to work toward stress management and academic success strategies.
For part of his final year requirement, he partnered with the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) and Faculty of Arts’ Community-Engaged Learning and Teaching (CELT) to host the talk.
The fourth-year cumulative project gives psychology students the choice to either organize a workshop for students or write an essay. Fernandez-Palmieri chose the interactive option in order to connect with other Ryerson students, he said.
While it was his first time presenting the workshop, he spoke with confidence as he shared his personal experiences with the small group who attended the event.
He described coping strategies and the importance of first identifying and accepting your situation and problem.
Fernandez-Palmieri says that changing one’s emotional attitude toward an issue alone plays a strong role in handling stress.
As for the methods that post-secondary students use to keep tension under control, he says that they can be greatly improved.
“Generally speaking, I find that the way we handle stress could be a lot better,” he said. “If we only knew a little more about the literature and the theories, I think everyone could really benefit.”
Fernandez-Palmieri also encouraged students to reach out for assistance on campus. Whether this means a trip to the Writing Centre or dropping by a Mental Health Awareness Week event, he says that there is a wide range of support in the Ryerson community.