Advising Right Now: Recognizing Signs of Stress
Early intervention gets positive results. Help your students help themselves by alerting them to resources. TAs, faculty, and tutors are all available to help. If you have a student who appears depressed or overwhelmed, now is the time to refer him or her. A first warning that a student may be experiencing stress is a Fifth Week Flag in one or more subjects.
Identifying Stress Symptoms
MIT Medical has a printable brochure called How to Help Students in Distress, which includes a list of symptoms of stress. These include:
- student fails to respond to emails or phone calls
- is sleeping too much or too little
- has gained or lost weight
- is isolated
- has a change in appearance, e.g., unclean, dirty hair or clothes
- is not attending classes or recitations
- appears apathetic or depressed
The student's TAs and/or instructors, subject review sessions, departmental tutoring, the Tutorial Services Room (TSR), and the staff in Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming office are all great resources for students seeking to improve their academic performance.
If you want to be in direct contact with your advisee's teachers or TAs, please see the list of Freshman Lecturers.
Time Management and Study Skills
For students who are still struggling with time management and/or poor study habits, the Center for Academic Excellence (ACADEX) site offers assistance with assessment of time and good advice on balancing academics, healthy activities, and social life.
Personal Problems or Extenuating Circumstances
Sometimes students are unable to focus on schoolwork because of personal mental health issues like depression, illness, serious interpersonal problems (roommates, new or failing romances), or family crisis (death, divorce, illness).
- Strongly encourage any advisee struggling with personal problems or with extenuating circumstances to contact Student Support Services (S3), Room 5-104, 617-253-4861. S3 deans provide support and help for a multitude of problems from study-related anxiety through personal or financial issues; they can make referrals to other support services and advocate on behalf of the student as necessary.
- Mental Health and Counseling at MIT Medical offers a full range of individual services as well as support groups for students which try to help them adjust to life at MIT. You can reassure students that Mental Health records are completely separate from their academic records.