Penn has made it onto another Top Ten list — but this one may not be so brag-worthy.
College Magazine recently named Penn the 10th most stressful college in America — citing Penn’s high price tag, the intense application process and the high on-campus crime rate as evidence. Other Ivies that made it onto the list were Cornell at number seven and Harvard at number one.
These rankings embody a trend of high-stress environments at Ivy League universities. Zach Schwartz, a rising senior at Columbia University, recently wrote a viral article entitled, “Going to an Ivy League School Sucks.” Part of his distaste for Columbia stemmed from “the cutthroat environment [that] breeds a sense of competition, not collaboration.”
In his article, Schwartz acknowledges the benefits that come with an Ivy education, but asserts that there is an alternate atmosphere of pressure and disingenuousness that may not make the Ivy experience worth the effort.
However, Schwartz has been scolded by Ivy Leaguers everywhere for overgeneralizing his own unique experience.
Wharton junior Theodore Caputi wrote a rebuttal to Schwartz in a Huffington Post article entitled, “Going to an Ivy Doesn’t Suck: A Response to Zach Schwartz." In the article, Caputi argues that Schwartz “may have simply chosen a school that's not a good fit for him.”
According to the American Institute of Stress, 8 in 10 college students reported experiencing stress sometimes or suffering from it often in their daily lives — a 20 percent increase from a similar study five years ago.
At Penn, some students feel that the most stressful aspect of college is trying to juggle all the opportunities that the campus has to offer.
“The most stressful thing is trying to balance your coursework with all the extracurriculars you are involved in while still having whatever social life you want,” rising College junior Stephanie Felt said.
“There’s not much that Penn can do to foster a less stressful environment, due to the fact that it is an Ivy League institution with high expectations for students,” rising College junior Casey Stevko said.
However, other students are satisfied with the resources Penn has available for stress management.
“There’s really a lot available on campus; the resources are pretty astounding,” Caputi said, who is also a member of Penn Drug and Alcohol Peer Advisors. “There’s RAP Line, where you can talk to a peer, CAPS, free psychological services, learning resource centers, the Women’s Center and SHS.”
Penn continues to educate students about the opportunities available to them. “Spreading awareness to students about the resources that are available to them would probably result in more students utilizing those resources more frequently,” Stevko said.
“Any stress that I’ve had at Penn is not Penn’s fault, it’s just that Penn has so much that’s available,” Caputi said.
A simple web search will lead to a full list of Penn resources available for stress management. To learn more about the physical effects of stress or to find contact information for on-campus resources, students can visit the Student Health Services website.
“College is going to be stressful, no doubt about that,” Caputi. “But going to Penn is great because Penn has the resources to make sure there are people there to help you.”
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