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Sofia Hashi | Fulcrum Staff

SEPTEMBER HAS BEFALLEN us and the last couple of months will soon become a cluster of sweet memories we can reminisce about by clicking through some Facebook album with an unoriginal name like “Summer ‘12.” As we zip around Ikea for the latest bargains or make a pit stop at the Apple Genius Bar to update our gadgets, the excitement and nerves we feel about starting or returning to university can be overwhelming.

As students, we’re told to love, love, and love our experience at university. Some consider frosh week to be a mandatory rite of passage. There’s also the endless amount of parties to attend. And don’t forget the complete freedom. But what if university isn’t thrilling? What if the thought of learning theories, solving difficult equations, and reading scores of literature triggers our gag reflexes and sends cold chills down our spines?

It’s not a stretch to say that today’s students are just plain stressed out. Most students juggle part-time jobs, school, and a social life semester after semester. In fact, there’s a funny saying that highlights how painfully true this can be. “Sleep, school, and a social life. You can only pick two out of the three,” says the unnamed author. And how right they are.

School can get hectic. Life can be difficult. But there’s nothing worse than being a university student and constantly being told that a post-secondary education is worthless and a waste of four years. We hear it all the time, whether it’s from news reports, our parents or, in rare cases, professors. They bemoan our lack of preparation for the workforce, say that we all did nothing but sit around having a grand old time while in school, and complain that we…complain too much.

Newsflash: we don’t complain too much. A Maclean’s article stated that 42 per cent of college and university students feel a substantial amount of stress in their everyday lives, with 13 per cent at risk for mild depression. The culprits for student anxiety are usually grades, school, money, and relationships.

While our generation may come across as bratty, we’re not a generation of chronic complainers. We should be thankful that the stigma of mental health has dissipated to a point where students can feel somewhat comfortable seeking help. Students today have many resources available to them to cope with anxiety and stress. And there’s something to be said about thinking positively.

Instead of reading reports that tell us our university degrees aren’t really worth our time and that more schooling is needed if we want to go anywhere, why not look at what we have achieved? Instead of focusing on the loss of jobs and the worse-for-wear economy, why not focus on the retirement wave that’s already in motion? According to the Globe and Mail, six million working Canadians will be leaving the workforce within the next 20 years. And who said we won’t find jobs?

A little optimism can go a long way. Maybe with a cheery outlook and rose-coloured glasses, we can look forward to a brighter future.