Stress blows problems out of all proportion, especially when you are nineteen and you’re currently attending University.
Here, in Latvia, for many students daily stress starts right after High School graduation. Going to university isn’t always an exciting experience; not for those who fail at social interactions. Latvian institutions offer a dynamic study environment with an emphasis on independent study and project-oriented learning. In addition to attending lectures you are expected to participate in discussions. It’s a part of the program, actually. Freshmen often refuse to participate, some reasons cited are that they are simply afraid of failure, or being made fun of their course mates. I’ve also noticed that sometimes, even smart undergraduates gladly accept the initiative of others in the group and rarely have a particular interest in showing or taking the initiative themselves. I am in no position to judge them, but, apparently, few of them know that only a dead fish goes with the flow!
It’s hard not to recognize the fact that now young people in Latvia are under more pressure – and stress – than ever before. The unemployment rate has reached 16.2% for the 2011 of May and moreover, Latvia had the worst economic performance in 2009. This puts Latvian students in a very unpleasant place.
We may also refer to recent research project “Quality of Life and Life Styles of the Youth in Latvia” (2010) where 65 percent of respondents, aged 18-25, described the quality of fife in Latvia as “bad”, 30 percent of respondents described as “very bad” and only 5 percent of respondents answered “can’t complain”. There is nothing optimistic about the statistics either. Students seemed to have strong opinions and arguments about living conditions in Latvia.
There is also a lot of commercial pressure on Latvian students to live up to expectations and conform. On top of all that, there is the bigger picture with students more likely to worry about their financial matters, and part-time work is the only option for a Latvian student to keep a head above water, believe it or not, you won’t get any extra funding from governmental or charitable organizations, however, you may try to.
“We have plenty of reasons for leaving this country. You see, I can’t immerse myself into my studies, simply because I have to work full-time. I really doubt that undergraduates, for instance, in Finland or anywhere else in EU, would work full-time during their studies! Now I am very interested in getting European internship, but I don’t think Europe is interested in me” says Regīna (20) an undergraduate student from Riga Technical University.
Nearly a half of students and future students too, expressed their wish to emigrate to Great Britain (55%), Finland (32%) and Sweden (33%) in pursuit of their own happiness, financial stability and safety.
“Maybe 30 years ago there was a sharp increase in students. At that particular time Latvian institutions stood out to be best prepared and organized, ranked top five among institutions in the USSR, and had enough resources to satisfy every student need. Today, however, Latvian universities disappointed me in nearly every possible way. Unfortunately, both academic and professional institutions simply haven’t been able to maintain and upgrade the libraries, lecture halls, laboratories and IT-services,” says Andris (24) a postgraduate historical student at Latvian University — his family name is better left withheld .
Latvian security and the lack of political stability aren’t much appreciated either. Foreign students gave negative feedback about international services as well.
According to another survey, Latvia could do better in recruitment services. Especially, graduate students who wish that they could have more support when it comes to employment and their future career.
To be honest, it takes an extreme amount of much time and effort to juggle the responsibility of a job, stay committed to your studies, and have a healthy social life. Students frequently got stressed by being stuck in a routine. Not surprisingly it is becoming more and more common for young people in Latvia to turn to drugs and alcohol because the only wish after a long day is to lay down, have one or two drinks and be taken away from the squalor of the real world.
In coming to terms with my own personal setback, I have been able to learn that to prevent troubles and unnecessary stressful situations during university, it is vital for every student to have a realistic work schedule, that hopefully prioritizes the education part.
It is advisable to join a supportive student society, along with sport team, or club to integrate in that way. Be less concerned with what other people think of you, never sacrifice your ambitions or give up, and if you seek for international opportunities, then finally “come out of your comfort zone” and experience study abroad. ICT is progressing in leaps, so there is nothing unusual in studying online, right?
Anyway, even if it was a hell of the week, the unbearable heaviness of exams, as I usually call it, or work is way too boring, you should manage to take advantage of it all. Live big, and take big risks. Remember, students do things to beat stress every day of their life without even knowing it!