Integrating Business Perspective Assessment 1
Task 1 - Analysis of the Student Problem Space (15%)
Section 1 (549 words)
The overarching challenge of balancing academic performance and social life is prevalent amongst Australian students transitioning into tertiary level education. Due to their inadequacy of experience, first-year university students commonly experience high levels of stress as a consequence of their pursuit for social and academic stability. The stress is characterised by Swenberger (2016) as a "school spillover", whereby the obligation and pressure of student life extend into other domains through shared emotions and behaviours (Pederson's 2017). This is evidential from the increased demand for self-sufficiency and academic autonomy as both of which requires a substantial amount of time and energy. This subsequently renders students to forsake other aspects of their life such as exercise, a nutritional diet and social relationships in order to achieve adequate results in university.
Students at UTS have expressed their personal experiences on the issue and the complexities surrounding the direct and indirect impacts. These are altered by underlying factors such as gender, personalities and private commitments. An examination of three students, subject A, B and C, reflects this notion as each response vary according to personal values and coping abilities.
The common predicament shared amongst the three subjects was the scarcity of time due to the overwhelming work university require. From there, the students differ on the matter of maintaining a regular exercise routine within their schedule. Subject A has an obligation to attend weekly church meetings in addition to his four days at school which quote, "makes it hard to find time to exercise". Contrastingly, subject B only goes to university two days a week and has commitments to her soccer team, thus enabling her to balance between a healthy and studious life. Student C personally consider the workload to be"difficult to balance and disrupts normal routine" as he accommodates to his university schedule with gym sessions at night. While the shortage of time directly has an impact on the students' lifestyle, external factors such as the flexibility of personal commitments accentuate the difficulty of creating an equilibrium between social and academic prosperities.
Health has substantial effects on the students' wellbeing, but it is depended on individualised diet and the toll it has on the body. The response from student B and the other two subjects demonstrates the disparity between the pressure society inflicts upon genders to maintain a healthy body. While student B emphasised on her effort to maintain a healthy body by bringing homemade meals to school, the male students associated this issue with stress eating and physical fatigue. Responses from student A and C noted that "working full time personally affects the body and studies", and "stress from uni lead to stress eating due to time constraints of assignments." The conflicting perspectives from the males and female further reiterate how stress and burden stemming from different domains of student life can disturb their mental and physical wellbeing.
The relationships shared amongst peers is another social aspect that is often compromised due to extended stress and the new school environment. Although this is usually the case, all three subjects have expressed their eagerness to participate in societies with the intention of establishing new relationships. The outgoing personalities of the students greatly contributed to this initiative as social support is an essential coping assistance when balancing their social and academic needs.
Section 2 (541 words)
Students are required to commit to social and academic obligations. As such, this may render them unable to find stability between the two and that is attributed to various domains of life. Pederson's (2017) Sociological Inquiry approaches this concept through the pressure that derives from social expectations, course requirements, development of new relationships and excessive commitments. These domains of life may intertwine, consequently causing possible detrimental mental illnesses such as anxiety, substance abuse and eating disorders. An extension of these internal factors is the external impact of social constructs placed on different genders. Levi, Chan, and Pearce (2002) discovered substantial differences among students in food selections with men exhibiting less interest and engagement in comparison to women (Ruthig et al. 2011). This emanates from the ideology that it is not 'masculine' for men to concern themselves about dietary requirements. Additionally, according to Wald's et al. (2014) examination of American undergraduate students, 68% ate less than three servings of fruits and vegetables per day as a result of time restraints and perspective on food selections. Therefore, accumulative pressure that is placed on the students from themselves and society can impede on their ability to strive, due to the mental illnesses that may incur with the overwhelming nature of their social and academic life.
Correspondingly, engagement in the educational framework is also one of the main sources of complications for students as most thrive to succeed in their course. Clercq's (2018) research uncovered that 72% of American students identified the overwhelming struggle with understanding the courses' contents to be the central factor of their failure to find stability. Chances of success may be hindered if a student has yet to acquire and develop autonomous learning skills during the first year, simultaneously managing other program requirements. Students will constantly prioritise time and energy for their academic prosperities as the contents of courses are very difficult to recover once the student have reached a point so far behind, it is almost impossible. Ultimately, this will consume time from their social life and overall decrease their satisfaction in life.
The repercussions and benefits of balancing between work and personal life transcend gender and age, thus making it a global issue. Pelletier's (2012) Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior delves into the perceptions of a healthy lifestyle and discovered that a staggering 37.1% of American students felt they had a healthy balance of the two. This is supported by Turconi's et al. (2008) research on Italian students, where they uncovered that only 37% have satisfactory eating habits due to increased autonomy of their education and social life. Furthermore, more than 50% of Australian students fail to meet physical activity guidelines according to Eather's et al. (2018) evaluation of an interval training program for university students. The poor results of the students' lifestyle from the three different countries greatly accentuate that the hardship of acquiring a healthy student lifestyle is universal and has no boundaries.
In essence, having a balance between academic and social life is essential for UTS Business students to be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The consequences of allowing one domain of life to impede another can be severe on a student's mental and physical health, thus further emphasises the scope of the matter.
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