Healthy living for students with Keishelle Jones, SUNO’s campus counselor

November 7, 2011


Stress in any walk of life is normal. For college students, stress is a major factor as they manage course work, work responsibilities, and family life. SUNO Public Relations sat down with the University’s campus counselor, Keishelle Jones, to get an idea of what students can do to manage stress in healthy ways inside and outside of the classroom.

SUNO PR: What appears to be the primary stressors for SUNO students?

Jones: Money is the number one issue, but our students also have other external issues they have to deal with. It used to be that traditional students would normally have part-time jobs in addition to school, but many of our students work forty-hour weeks just like the non-traditional students. The other thing is that many SUNO students have families, which adds to the pressure of managing classes.

SUNO PR: What is normal for any college student to be stressed about?

Jones: Just about any college student needs motivation to keep going and also needs build a routine in order to survive in the classroom. Seniors, especially, are under a lot of pressure to graduate. The average college student also struggles with time management and personal relationships.

SUNO PR: How can students alleviate stress?

Jones: First, students can build support systems with one another. They can do that through student organizations or providing each other encouragement to succeed in school. Students can also do things like take walks on the Lake, utilize the work out room in the Health & Physical Education Building, or come to counseling to discuss their problems. Students love to visit our Serenity Room at the Student Health Center in building 3 on the Lake Campus. It offers a quiet therapeutic atmosphere for meditation and message chairs.

Students can also look into campus resources for guidance. You have resources like tutoring, the Center for Comprehensive Communication, etc. to help students get over the hump academically. No one should feel ashamed of asking for help in order to succeed.

SUNO PR: Finals are coming fast. What can students do to prepare?

Jones: First, students need to eat well. That means (chuckling) three healthy meals a day. Second, they need to rest. Get some sleep when it’s time to sleep! Also, manage time outside of the classroom so that things don’t get too tight when it’s time to study for exams.

Another thing I suggest is physical fitness. One organization I like, especially since most of our campus population consists of women, is Black Girls RUN! I’d like to start something like that at SUNO, but for all students, getting outside and taking walks for about 30 minutes can be very helpful.

SUNO PR: What about faculty and staff? How can we be in a healthy state of mind to help our students?

Jones: First, remember that students are our priority. And outside of some of the tips I have for students like time management, rest, and physical activity, we can take pride in our jobs. It gets stressful for everyone, but being focused on doing our jobs to the best of our abilities really helps the students.

As a campus, there’s a lot we can do to work together to help our students. When we run into students with issues, we can often tag-team to help them with their situations.

Four Great Relievers for Everyone

Prayer (or meditation) from the heart can instantly bring soothing comfort and quick stress relief. It reminds us we are really not alone. It can also give us an immediate and deep sense of safety and peace regardless of the external circumstances we face.

Breathing is a amazingly effective. A few slow, deep breaths reaffirm the life within us and send a healing, calming message to our minds and bodies. How we breathe affects our neurotransmitters, our hormones, and every aspect of our being. We always have the time for it no matter where we are or what we are doing.

Laughter can change our whole perspective. Laughter allows us to see situations more broadly. Humor can bring people togther, dissipate stress homrones, and renew our will to live and to love. Laughter shifts our biochemstry in a way which allows and promotes very deep healing.

Exercise gives quick stress reduction. It gives us a humane, safe, healthy way to release pent-up worry, fear or hostility. Just move! It could be a trip to the exercise gym, but effective exercise can be as quick as running up a flight of stairs or doing a minute or two of calisthenics. A few squats, deep knee bends and sit-ups can be great instant stress relief. Try stretching up to the ceiling and then down to your toes.

Ms. Jones received her undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice in 2004 as well as her Master of Social Work in 2007 from SUNO. She is currently a candidate for her Ph.D. from Jackson State University. Ms. Jones is located in Lake Campus 3 and can be reached at (504) 286-5347