Professors also suffer from anxiety

Valeria Mancera-Saavedra, Staff writer

We’ve all experienced anxiety at some point in our lives.

The different factors that lead to experiencing this condition are often presented often throughout our day-to-day, and we may tend to overlook the signs.

This anguish, linked to everything that human beings perceive as a threat, does not distinguish between genders or ages, so you, a college student balancing several duties and obligations, may find yourself anxious at times since life usually involves responsibilities even greater in quantity and consciousness. Even so, this condition tends to appear from childhood.

James Plakovic, a psychology professor at Elgin Community College, has experienced anxiety since he was a child and still does.

According to Plakovic, his parents always believed that their son was dealing with some nervousness, so he lived his life normally.

It sounds odd, but I assume at the time that’s how most people viewed it, Plakovic said. I was not behaviorally disruptive so it was not a big deal.

Plakovic says that he has always been a shy and introverted person. Around the sixth grade, he began to deal with migraines, which were misdiagnosed as sinus headaches. As a result of this, Plakovic became an even more introverted child, because his social relationships were affected, and not only that, these painful headaches also interfered with his schoolwork. At the time, he was not able to understand what he was dealing with.

I began to worry all the time about almost everything, and I am still that way, Plakovic said. I just assumed that everybody felt this way.

These warning signs confirmed what he later found out. Plakovic learned many years later that anxiety runs in both of his parents’ families.

When he was in the eighth grade, Plakovic began to self-medicate.

The problem with that is you do not learn any constructive ways to combat anxiety, Plakovic said.

As a result, his academic performance during high school deteriorated, but when he began his studies at his community college, Plakovic had two instructors that made a huge impact on his life.

I did not feel like I belonged in college, but I absolutely adored these instructors, Plakovic said. And I loved being in their classes and I fell in love with learning, and much of that learning was learning about myself.

As a psychology instructor, Plakovic gained understanding about anxiety from personal experiences and through his education.

I am, as I think most instructors are, sympathetic to the difficulties students with anxiety contend with, Plakovic said.

Plakovic believes that, for instructors, one of the biggest difficulties regarding anxiety is separating anxiety that’s common for most students to experience (preparing for an upcoming exam, getting good grades) from the excessive, disruptive anxiety that is debilitating to the student’s life in general.

My advice for students or for anyone who is anxious is to take an inventory of the life factors they are or have been experiencing,” Plakovic said. Write them down and rate them in some meaningful way. Examine and understand what you are dealing with and how they are affecting your life.