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University of Santo Tomas

College of Science
General Education Department

Effects of Academic Demands to First Year


Biology Students of UST

In partial fulfillment
of the requirements
for the course
Academic Writing

Submitted by:
Apo, Dhana
Coronacion, Cygfred
De Guzman, Christian
Echon, Angelique
Garcia, Patricia
Martin, John Wilfred
Tana, Demariel

Submitted to:
Francis Clare B. Baltazar, M.A.Ed.

December 7, 2015

Part One: Elucidation of the Study


A. Research Topic
Effects of academic demands on the general well-being of first year biology
students of UST
B. Research Goal
The study aims to identify which aspect of the first year biology students
general well being was most affected by academic demands in order to come
up with possible resolutions that would help them adjust to their new
environment.
C. Theoretical Underpinnings
According to Lazarus and Folkman (1984), the Cognitive-relational
theory states that stress is elicited by the excessive demands of the
environment that goes beyond the capability of the person as well as
jeopardizing their welfare to accomplish the task.
Albert Bandura (1977) states in his Social Learning Theory that
experience whether first hand or second hand plays a vital role in the
learning process of an individual. Moreover, it leads to a change in an
individual's knowledge or behaviour
D. Research Title
Effects of Academic Demands to First Year Biology Students of UST
E. Thesis Statement
Academic demands beget a decline on the general well-being of first year
biology students of UST.

Part Two: Research Directional


A. Research Paradigm

FIRST YEAR BIOLOGY STUDENTS

EFFECTS OF ACADEMIC
DEMANDS

HEALTH

SOCIAL

EMOTIONAL

PHYSIOLOGI
CAL

BEHAVIORAL

WEIGHT
GAIN/LOSS

RELATIONSHIP
WITH FAMILY

MOOD
SWINGS

EATING HABIT

DISCIPLINE

SUSCEPTIBILIT
Y TO
ILLNESSES

RELATIONSHIP
WITH PEERS

SENSITIVITY

SLEEP-WAKE
CYCLE

HONESTY

FATIGUE

INVOLVEMENT
IN NONACADEMIC
ACTIVITIES

TIME
MANAGEMENT

AMOUNT OF
PHYSICAL
ACTIVITY
The paradigm above shows the 6 aspects of general well-being
affected by academic demands that were surveyed among the first year
biology students of UST. Effects on health are manifested by weight
gain/loss, a decrease or increase in ones susceptibility to illnesses, fatigue
and a change in the amount of physical activity. Academic demands also
affect the social aspect of well being and the relationship of the students with
their family, peers and their involvement in non-academic activities. Another
aspect is concerned with the emotional state of a person which is affected by
academic demands through mood swings and changes in ones sensitivity.

The physiological manifestations caused by the excessive demands in


academics include disruption in sleeping patterns and eating habits while the
behavioral effects of academic demands involve change in discipline, honesty
and time management.
B. Statement of the Problem
1. How do academic demands affect the health of first year biology students
in terms of:
1.1 Weight gain/loss
1.2 Susceptibility to illnesses
1.3 Fatigue
1.4 Amount of physical activity
2. What are the effects of academic demands on the social well-being of first
year biology students in terms of:
2.1 Relationship with family
2.2 Relationship with peers
2.3 Involvement in non-academic activities
3. What is the impact of academic demands on the emotional state of first
year biology students in terms of:
3.1 Mood swings
3.2 Sensitivity
4. What are the changes in the physiological state of first year biology
students brought about by academic demands in terms of:
4.1 Eating habits
4.2 Sleep-wake cycle
5. What are the repercussions of academic demands on the behaviour of
first year biology students in terms of:
5.1 Discipline
5.2 Honesty
5.3 Time management
6. Which of the given effects had the greatest impact on the general wellbeing of the first year biology students of UST?

Part Three: Data Gathering Tools


A. Respondent Group
First Year Biology Students of UST

B. Sample Questionnaire
University of Santo Tomas
Espaa, Manila
English 3: Academic Writing
Research Questionnaire

Name of Respondent (Optional): __________________________________


Date:
Dear Respondent,
Your responses to this questionnaire are humbly solicited for the
study, Effects of Academic Demands to First Year Biology Students of UST.
Please be assured that your responses will be treated with utmost
confidentiality.
-

The Researchers

_______________

Directions: Rank the statements based on the scale presented below. Check the
box that corresponds to your answer.
Scale:
5
4
3
2
1
I.

Increased greatly
Increased slightly
Stayed the same
Decreased slightly
Decreased greatly

Health

5
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

II.

Weight
Susceptibility to illnesses
Recurring headaches
Number of times you feel exhausted
Difficulty in concentrating
Time allotted for exercise
Time allocated for sports
Ability to perform strenuous activities

Social

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

Communication with family


Involvement in family affairs and occasions
Time spent with friends
Number of new friends
Number of organizations
Allotted time for school organizations
Participation in community activities
Time allocated for church activities

III. Emotional

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
IV.

1.
2.
3.
4.

Mood swings
Frustration
Anxiety
Fear of failure
Cheerfulness
Confidence
Emotion regulation skills
Sensitivity to how others interact with you
Physiological

Eagerness to eat
Food Cravings
Instances wherein you skipped meals
Number of hours allotted for sleep

5.
6.
7.
8.

Occurrences of sleepless nights


Number of times you overslept
Disturbances in sleep
Disruptions in sleeping patterns

V. Behavioral
5

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

Vices (smoking, drinking, etc.)


Obedience to rules and policies
Instances when you procrastinate
Promptness in meeting deadlines
Instances when you have been dishonest
Amount of time you spend on studying
Amount of time you spend on rest and
relaxation
8. Ability to make decisions based on priorities

VI.

General Effects of Academic Demands


Directions: Rank the following aspects of well-being based on the impact of
academic demands. Assign 5 to the aspect which was greatly affected and
1 to which was least affected, then tick the box corresponding to the
effect of academic demands.

Aspects affected by
academic demands
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Rating

Positive

Negative

Health
Social
Emotional
Physiological
Behavioral

C. Summary of the Tally Sheets


I. Health

16

11

10

10

15

12

11

12

11

15

17

11

10

13

II. Social

III. Emotional

20

17

10

10

11

15

14

14

11

10

IV. Physiological

V. Behavioral

Table 1.1 Summary of the tally sheets: Part I Part V of questionnaire


5
I. Health
5
II. Social
3
III. Emotional
10
IV. Physiological
3
V. Behavioral
2
Table 1.2 Summary of

4
4
6
3
7
6
the

POSITIVE

NEGATIVE

5 2 8
6
15
3 7 5
16
12
5 4 2
5
18
2 7 5
5
19
8 4 4
11
13
tally sheets: Part VI of questionnaire

Part Four: Presentation, Analysis and Interpretation of Data


A. Which of the aspects of health manifested the greatest decrease?
1. Summary Table

Table 2: Number of Respondents who answered 1: Health

2. Graph/Chart

Figure 1: Percentage of respondents who answered 1: Health


3. Interpretation of the Data
According to the study by Pope et al. (2013), academic demands like
excessive homework load is a stressor on students' lives. In their research they
studied 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper-middle-

class California communities. Along with the survey data, Pope and her
colleagues interviewed the students about the amount of homework they have
each night and those who spend more time doing homework experienced more
academic stress, physical health problems, and lack of balance in their lives.
Academic stress caused by academic demands is one of the reasons
why a decline of physical activities is evident among freshman students. This
explains why on the the data gathered, decreased physical activities is seen
greatly among first year biology students as the time allocated for sports,
ability to perform strenuous activities and time allocated for exercise are the
top three answers of students to the question which of the following aspects of
health decreased the most? with percentages of 32%, 24% and 20%
respectively.
Also, according to Pope et al. (2013), students' stress that are caused
by school works may lead to migraines, ulcers and other stomach problems,
sleep deprivation and exhaustion, and weight loss. This explains why
headaches, being prone to illnesses, being exhausted and changes in weight
occur among first year biology students. As the data gathered shows, 8% of the
respondents stated that they experienced a decrease in recurring headaches
and susceptibility to illnesses while 4% of the respondents reported a decrease
on the number of times they felt exhausted. Also, 4% of the respondents
claimed that they experienced a decrease in weight. Although there was a
decline on the said conditions, the percentage was only small which implies that
students still experience these conditions greatly.

On the other hand, it shows that none of the respondents experienced


a decrease in the difficulty in concentrating that they experience, which means
that it increased instead. According to the study of O'Neel et al. (2012) ,
regardless of how much a student generally studies each day, if that student
sacrifices sleep time to study more than usual, he or she will have more trouble
understanding the material taught in class and be more likely to struggle on
assignment or test the following day. This now explains why first year biology
students have difficulty in concentrating in class.
Overall, the stress caused by academic demands is the key factor of
health issues among students.
B. Which among the aspects of social well-being had the greatest
decline?
1. Summary Table

Table 3: Number of Respondents who answered 1: Social

2. Graph/Chart

Figure 2: Percentage of respondents who answered 1: Social

3. Interpretation of the Data

According to the study of Ross et al. (1999), first year students are
more prone to greater stress brought by the academic demands compared
to students from other year levels since they are in a transitional stage that
requires adjustment to a new environment where they will experience more
challenges and heavier responsibilities. According to Robotham (2008),
freshmen students leave their homes more frequently than usual to stay in
dormitories in order for them to attain high grades. This affects their
relationship with their families. The graph shown above illustrates that the
respondents relationship with their families were affected, as manifested by
the 4% and 8% of the respondents which reported a decrease in their
communication with their families and involvement in family affairs and
occasions respectively. In addition, according to Catteral (1998), academic
performance of students is better when family support and school-based
activities are present.
The greatest factor that affected the social well being of the
respondents is a decrease in their involvement in church activities which
garnered the most number of responses marked by percentage of 28%. This
is supported by a study conducted by Jennifer Keup and Ellen Bara
Stolzenberg, wherein a decrease in the percentage of the freshmen students
who

attend

mass

was

observed.

Finding

time

to

accomplish

the

responsibilities and demands are always being prioritized over going to


church. (Abbamonte, 2015).
In the table above, 16% of the respondents experienced a great
decrease in time allotted for school organizations and 8% experienced a

decline on the number of new organizations. This may possibly cause change
in a students academic peroformance. According to a survey by Schlesser
(2014), students who participated in extra-curricular activities manifested a
higher GPA than the non-participants. Kuh (2000) highlighted the important
characteristics of a supportive academic environment as one that provides
support

to

students

to

succeed

academically

and

socially. Such

an

environment enables the students to meet the non-academic demands and


provides support that enhances the students relationship with fellow
students, faculty staff, and institutional administration.
According to Osgood, Wilson, OMalley, Bachman, and Johnston
(1996), when students work together for their school assignments, they
create an atmosphere wherein they may encourage the others to be
positively involved in school. This may support the fact that only 12% of the
respondents had a great decline in the time spent with their friends and none
reported a decrease in the number of newly acquired friends.
The graph above also illustrates that the respondents participation in
community activities was greatly affected with a percentage of 24%.
According to the report made by Willms (2003), the participation component
of the students is characterized by the factors such as school, class
attendance, assignments, and other academic demands. Thus, this may be
the reason behind the decrease of the time allotted for community activities.

C. Which among the factors of emotional well being was reduced the
most?
1. Summary Table

Table 4: Number of Respondents who answered 1: Emotional

2. Graph/Chart

Fig
ure 3: Percentage of repondents who answered 1: Emotional
3. Interpretation of the Data
The group gathered results from the survey that answered the
question, Which among the factors of emotional well being was reduced

the most?There are various options such as mood swings, frustrations,


anxiety, fear of failure, cheerfulness, confidence, sensitivity to how others
interact with you, and emotional regulation skills. The choices that the
participants picked the most are confidence and sensitivity to how others
interact with you. The percentages for these options are 67 percent and
33 percent respectively. The aspect of being sensitive towards other
people has a 33 percent of choice and this is probably because people
who study more have more things in their minds, thus making them feel
irritated because they have other things to attend to rather than the
people around them. Another possible cause why sensitivity which is in
terms of irritability has the second highest vote is that students may
develop a sense of fear and anger due to academic demands. These anger
and fear are the main causes that affect the mood change and the level of
irritability of a person which in turn, influence a person's attitude (Mishra,
2008). On the other hand, confidence, which has the largest percentage
of choice, is a factor in which a persons ego can be lessened due to low
grade. Chemers, Hu, and Garcia (2001) stated that confident and
optimistic students view their worlds in ways that are more likely to result
in successful adjustment. Some of the participants who chose the option
of confidence as an aspect that is greatly decreased by academic
demands are probably pessimistic students who think that they cannot
handle college courses due to high academic demands.

D. Which of the physiological manifestations decreased the most?


1. Summary Table

Table 5: Number of Respondents who answered 1: Physiological


2. Graph/Chart

Fi
gure 4: Percentage of respondents who answered 1: Physiological
3. Interpretation of the Data
The number of hours allocated for sleeping and disruptions in sleeping
patterns, garnered most of the respondents answers as the most decreased
factors of physiological health. This is exhibited by a percentage of 32% and

23% respectively. Disturbances in sleep, number of times a respondent


overslept and occurrences of sleepless nights amass 6%, 13% and 7% of the
responses

which

answer

the

question

Which

of

the

physiological

manifestations decreased the most?. According to Wolfenden (2011),


changes in these factors are indicatives of stress. Since some of the answers
are doled out on these factors, stress is evident on a number of respondents.
A study by Wolfenden (2011) proves that academic pressures, meeting of
deadlines, and juggling the demands of school work causes stress that
eventually root into various changes in the lifestyle of a stressed college
student. Instances wherein there was a decrease in the number of times the
respondents skipped meals, had eagerness to eat or had food cravings
cumulate 19% of the total percentage of responses. A familiar study done by
Stress and Eating (n.d) states that teens and adults who are stressed
engage into unhealthy eating habits including skipping of meals and eating of
unhealthy food. It provides them with more time to focus and allows them to
deal with the excessive demands in academics and with their environment.

E. What aspect of behavior was reduced the most?


1. Summary Table

Table 6: Number of Respondents who answered 1: Behavioral

2. Graph/Chart

Figure 5: Percentage of respondents who answered 1: Behavioral

3. I
n
t
e
r
p
r
e
t
a
t
ion of the Data
According to the data gathered the factor that decreased the most are
the students vices (37% of the responses). According o Giambrone (2015),
the reason for this might be that freshmen students think that they do not
have time for vices because they have not been able to adjust to their
current life yet. Next there was a decrease in the amount of sleep &
relaxation that students have (16% of the responses) which can be
amounted to academic pressure (Yoo, 2007).There was also a decrease in
procrastination (10% of the responses) showing that academic pressure can
also yield positive results (Brogaard, 2006).Dishonesty also has a significant
decrease (16% of the responses) because according to Staats, et al. (2010),
majority of college students self-report cheating. Decision making also

decreased because according to Donatone (2013), most college students are


unable to decide for themselves because of helicopter parents. There has
also been a decline in the in the obedience to rules & policies because
according to Rabby(2012), students want to express themselves in a way
that they will no longer be treated as immature children.

F. Which among the general aspects of well being was most affected by
academic demands?
1. Summary Table

Table 7: Number of Respondents who answered 5: General aspects of


academic demands
2. Graph/Chart

Fi
gure 6: Percentage of respondents who answered 5: General aspects of
academic demands

Figure 7: Percentage of respondents who answered Positive or Negative:


Effect on emotional aspect of well being
3. Interpretation of the Data
It is observed from the results of the survey that the emotional well
being of students was most affected and majority of the respondents view
that the change in their emotional health was negative or unconstructive.
According to Divecha and Stern (2014), college life for most freshmen is
primarily emotionally challenging. Old relationships that bring comfort and
security are interrupted, resulting to feelings of loss, grief or isolation in spite
of being surrounded by a great number of new peers. The fear of failure also
often accompanies the first year in college. Divecha and Stern (2014) discuss
the new and unexpected challenges to a freshmans identity and sense of
efficacy. A freshman who was a high performer with career plans in high
school may be taken aback by lower grades in college. The academic
demands imposed by the college often leads to anxiety as a student strives
to meet the standards imposed by the academe. High expectations,
information overload, academic pressure, unrealistic ambitions, limited
opportunities and high competitiveness are the common sources of stress
that generally creates tension, fear and anxiety in students (Sinha, Sharma &
Nepal, 2001, as cited in Nakalema, 2013). Hence, the emotional well being of
freshmen students is generally the most vulnerable, and the effect of its
alteration is negative. This is supported by a 2013 survey of over 123,000
students across 153 campuses in America which proved that over half of
students feel overwhelming anxiety, about a third experience intense

depression, and almost one third of the respondents reported that academic
or career issues have been traumatic or difficult to handle. Half said that they
have felt overwhelmed, lonely and sad at one point during the academic year
(Divecha & Stern, 2014). New (2015) wrote that the decline in emotional
health is because students are overwhelmed by the all the things that they
are required to accomplish. In a survey that was held in 2014, 21.7% of the
respondents reported that they studied more than 11 hours per week and 70
percent stated that they allotted more than 3 hours per week for studying.
The survey indicated an increase in the number of times allotted for studying
because of academic demands and this led to a decline in the respondents
emotional health.
Second to the emotional aspect, the health of the respondents was
also greatly affected. The stress caused by academic demands often lead to
changes in the health of students caused by modifications in their health
practices in an attempt to cope up with the new environment (Griffin,
Friend, Eitel & Lobel, 1993). Majority of the respondents reported that the
change in their health was negative. Both the social and physiological aspect
of well being, on the other hand, was slightly affected by academic demands.
The requirements of the college caused changes in the respondents
relationships with the people around them as well as changes in the normal
functioning of the body. Among all the aspects of academic demands, only
the change in their social well being was viewed by the respondents as
positive. This is because academic demands encourage the students to work
together, creating an atmosphere wherein they motivate one another to

actively participate in school (Osgood, Wilson, OMalley, Bachman, &


Johnston, 1996).
On the other hand, academic demands had the least effect on
behaviour. This may be accounted by the strict code of conduct that UST
imposes upon their students. For instilling Christian values among young
Filipinos, the university was named by Pope Pius XII the Catholic University
of the Philippines in 1947 (varsitarian.net). Majority of the freshmen students
of UST are Catholic Christians who came from catholic institutions as well.
They are already familiar with the rules and policies that catholic institutions
enforce, hence, there was minimal adjustment on their part.
Part Five: Summary of Findings, Conclusions and
Recommendations

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