Psychological anxieties coming more from parents than peers

As Colorado State’s incoming freshmen class enters college, they are facing claims that their generation faces more pressures than those before them, according to CSU Health Network psychologist Mark Benn.

“There is far more pressure on this generation of students to be having sex, abusing drugs and alcohol, acting violently,” Benn said. “There’s also this pressure coming from the illusion that everyone’s doing it, when studies have shown that that is not the case.”

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Despite modern pressures, some incoming students are still feeling confident about their abilities to function and socialize at CSU. Danielle Fritz, an incoming freshman who grew up in the Fort Collins area, said that she doesn’t see her old high school classmates the same way today.

“The social realms that existed in high school are gone,” Fritz said. “The people I grew up with have changed.”

Even some freshmen completely new to Fort Collins have an optimistic view of the people around them.

“I see the people around here as friendly and I see myself less critically since coming up here to school,” Stephen Tullberg, a freshman business administration major said.

Fellow freshman Bo Nilson also said he has become less self-conscious since coming to campus.

While the students seem hopeful about entering college, some parents still have their concerns about the new stresses that students face.

According to Benn — who is also the father of a senior political science major at CSU — the threat of someone walking into a classroom with a gun is a new threat that students face today, something that he “never feared” as a student. He also noted that there is more pressure for students to “get their parent’s money’s worth” with rising tuition costs.

Benn stressed that students should understand the real world experience that college can present.

“Anyone who is under the impression that college is not the ‘real world’ is truly doing themselves a disservice,” Benn said. “We have everything on campus that people in the real world experience. Anxiety, stress, pressure to have sex — students should know that they don’t have a monopoly on worry.”

Gary Fritz, father of Danielle Fritz, also expressed his wish to “impart all his knowledge” on his daughter before she left for college.

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“I hope that she makes the right decisions,” Gary said. “But I also know that she’ll make friends easily, that she’s got a good idea of where she is, what she’s doing, and I hope all of that will cross over into the future.”

Regardless of whether students are worried or optimistic about starting a new chapter at school, according to Benn, it’s all a matter of testing the waters.

“They’re swimming in a new aquarium,” Benn said. “And they’ll realize that the water’s different than before.”

Collegian Writer Sean Meeds can be reached at news@collegian.com.