Break approaches and stresses grow


Mary-Lynn Retassie

Senior Ethan Qualters lifts weight on the bench press as junior Nick Esola spots him in the Wellness Center on Friday.

Lucy Li, Features Editor

It’s always darkest before the dawn, and the most stressful time, for some Pitt-Johnstown faculty and students, is the week before they get a long break.

Health and Counseling Services Director Shelley Peruso said her schedule was jam-packed with counseling appointment.  

“Even my normal lunch period (is filled).”

If even the counselor said she is overwhelmed with work, it should not be hard to imagine how stressed out some students are.

With multiple class cancellations in the past few weeks and spring break days away, some students said they find themselves swamped with assignments and exams.

Sophomore Kayla VanOrmer said her semester went well, but these past few weeks have been quite stressful.

“I have a lot of deadlines approaching.

“(Because of the cancellations,) I feel like the teachers felt a higher pressure to get more material in, so they’re assigning more readings,” she said.

VanOrmer said exercising helps her relieve stress.

“I do a lot of yoga and I workout.

“I definitely think it helps me. It gets my mind off of the academic setting,” she said.

Besides normal students, there is another student population who faces lots of stress daily: student athletes.

Women’s track team member sophomore Samantha Klutz said she stresses out every day while at school.

“I am currently in Organic Chemistry 2. It gets pretty overwhelming.”

However, Klutz said her secret to dealing with stress is to make herself a drink, and exercise.

“When I’m stressed, I usually make a cup of tea, and track is definitely another outlet for me to relieve my stress.”

She said she balances her time between practice and schoolwork by setting aside time before and after practice to get some homework and studying in.

“It’s been working (for me thus) far.” Klutz said.

Assistant women’s basketball coach Renee Brown said she understands how athletes feel, since she was once a student-athlete.

“Basketball practices took my mind off of school assignments, personal issues and whatever else was going on in my life.

“It was like a sanctuary and a peace of mind – nothing else was relevant whenever I stepped on the court,” Brown said.

Having been through the process herself, Brown said she always reassures her athletes that they can talk to her about anything, and she shares her experiences with them so they won’t feel alone.

“I tell them to take a deep breath and let it out.

“I also encourage them to work out because research shows that physical activity can help reduce stress.

“Plus, you feel good when you exercise or play basketball-it’s like nothing else matters, all issues and negativity leave the door when you are on the court and focused,” she said.

In order to prevent herself from being stressed out, Brown said she spends time with her family in Pittsburgh, or, if she was unable to travel, she said she would video-call her loved ones and play video games with them.

“Some of the things that I think help with reducing stress is being able to vent to someone you trust without having the fear of being judged.

“Animals, exercises or finding a hobby that you truly enjoy doing also helps.

“(It is also important to) understand that you cannot control every aspect of life. There are some things that are out of your control; you just have to go with the flow.

“If something is that stressful to the point (that it’s) affecting your health and well-being, then I would highly suggest getting out of that particular activity or whatever it may be,” Brown said.

Although most people deal with stress in their lives, some people are genuinely happy all the time.

Pitt-Johnstown alumnus Bob Kuhns of  Somerset County said that he seldom gets stressed.

“I’m a really happy person,” he said.

“(However,) I am worried about my cats getting on the table. That makes me stressful.”

Kuhns said that he was in the Marine Corps.

“I went to Korea and Vietnam. I was a little stressed the night before (I went to Vietnam), but, other than that, I’ve never been stressed out.” he said.

“If something bothers me, I don’t (dwell on it), and I don’t let myself get involved.”

Kuhns said that he watches basketball games at the Wellness Center often.

“I come here all the time, and it keeps me from being stressed,” he said

“I think people bring a lot of stuff on themselves,” Kuhns said.