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    Struggles in Third-level Education

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    Stress is a major difficulty that students find entering into higher education. Sheridan and Dunne (2012) stated that results from a qualitative study showed that stress was seen as a result of organisation and time management. Students find it difficult to stay organised and to be able to manage their time efficiently. Students learn that they have to become more practical in managing their learning in relation to, discovering equal time for socialising, college work, work, and their personal concerns at that time. Also, Mohan and Sathya (2015) stated that the development of stress is linked with social environment. Stress arises not only in a complicated and competitive environment but also in a boring and stimulus-less one. Following on from this I am going to discuss the difficulty students have in dropping out in reference to wrong course choice and course difficulty.

    Dropping out of higher education before completion of their course is also a difficulty students seem to find. Moore-Cherry, Quin and Burroughs (2015) stated that the main reason for students to drop out was due to the wrong choice of course. Although students received there courses through their Cao choices they had made the wrong choice at stage of submission. Most students make their course choices under the pressure of the leaving cert and this results in rushed decisions being made, it also results from information on courses being misinterpreted by the schools guidance counsellor, students also thought that the course just wasn’t right for them. Students recognised that the mixture of their interests and their chosen course just did not work. A number of students said that course difficulty was a key influencing factor shaping their choice to leave their course. If a learner chooses an option that they have very little significance in then they will have trouble in engaging in course content. The amount of work given to the student was also a struggle. The difficulty in keeping up with course work and assignments was a lot for the student to get used to. Resulting in the removing themselves from the course. Following on from this I am going to discuss students mental health.

    As stated by Goodwin, et al (2016) 18-24 year olds are less prone to look for help for mental health issues than those in their middle ages. Also (Lattie, et al (2019) stated that In latest years the amount of symptoms of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and other mental illnesses has gone up in student populations. There has been a consistent urge for counselling services. Time in college highlights a significant time in relation to mental health and health behaviours. The increase in use of social media has risen at the same time as young adults reporting mental health troubles. Some have stated that social media is unhealthy and that the high level of connectivity on social media combined with the low level of interactions combined with a decrease in the quality and quantity of face to face interactions on social media is a large contributor to the observed increase in distress in youths. College students interact with each other through social media which can add on to the mental health issues students suffer.


    1. Sheridan, V and Dunne, S. (2012) ‘The Bigger Picture: Undergraduate reflecting on academic transition in an Irish University’ Innovations in education and teaching internationally, 49(3), 237-247
    2. Sathya , R and Mohan, S. (2015) ‘A study on stress and its effects on college students’ International Journal of Scientific Engineering and applied science (IJSEAS), 1(7)
    3. Moore-Cherry, N Quin, S and Burroughs, E. (2010) ‘why students leave: findings from qualitative research into student non-completion In higher education in Ireland’ National forum for the enhancement of teaching and learning in higher education 15th July 2015
    4. Goodwin, J, Behan, L, Kelly, McCarthy, K and Horgan, A. (2016) ‘ Help- seeking behaviours and mental well-being of first year undergraduate university students’ Psychiatric research 246(2016) 129-135
    5. Lattie, E, Lipson S and Eisenberg D. (2019) ‘ Technology and College Student Mental Health: Challenges and Opportunities’ Frontiers in Psychiatry

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