Opiskelija haalareissaan

Students more concerned about their coping

News article

The ability to identify problems in one's life is the key to good life management.

In 2022, 37 per cent of graduates under 35 in the field of technology or architecture were constantly or often concerned about their ability to cope during their studies. The percentage of concerned graduates had grown significantly from the previous year, by about four percentage points.

The result is from the TEK Graduate Survey, which examines the experiences of recent graduates in technology concerning studies and work.

In addition to concerns, the study measures sleep problems caused by academic stress, problems in personal relationships and the feeling of being overwhelmed by the workload that comes with studying. Fifty per cent of the respondents reported sleep problems all the time or often. The share had increased by three percentage points from the previous year.

“We have grown accustomed to speaking about work in a way that puts way too much pressure on young people. For example, do we talk too much about professional excellence and success? It’s worth keeping in mind that our high-quality education ensures that our graduates are well-equipped to cope with work. With our ageing population, we need to make sure that everyone is not only competent, but also mentally and physically healthy. There will be plenty of work for skilled professionals now and in the future,” says TEK’s Director of Public Affairs Juhani Nokela.

Do we talk too much about professional excellence and success?

Last year, 55 per cent of the survey respondents had experienced problems in their personal relationships due to their studies, and 33 per cent had felt overwhelmed in general. The percentages were similar to the year before.

“In the upcoming years, there’s a big risk that the government's intended reductions in students’ subsistence will cause even more mental stress,” says Nokela.

Concern is a useful wake-up call

The data gathered by TEK shows that the concerns about coping seem to have increased slightly more than the actual problems themselves.

“Concerns about coping stem from the feeling of not having enough resources in relation to the perceived responsibilities and objectives. The last few years have been a struggle for students. The rise of remote studying has perhaps decreased participation in social events for students, and for example, inflation has increased the pressure to work while studying, which in turn has added to the stress experienced by students,” says Analyst Arttu Piri who is responsible for the TEK Graduate Survey.

Piri believes that a concern over one's ability to cope can also be empowering or trigger necessary change.

“Concern can be a sign of greater self-reflection and active thinking about your individual situation. This, in turn, can lead you to seek help and make changes in your behaviour. This will lead to a more balanced equation of personal resources and goals,” says Piri.

TEK Graduate Survey asks recent graduates in technology and architecture about their expertise and skills, study progress, work experience and employment situation and overall satisfaction with their degree. The survey is conducted at all the universities offering education in technology and it reaches almost all academic engineers and architects graduating in Finland.

Learn more about the data of the Graduate Survey

TEK will be starting a new mental health podcast in Finnish named MielenTEKoja in November. Aimed at students, the podcast explores themes such as loneliness, FOMO, or the fear of missing out, performance and achievement.