Emotion-Focused Strategies


An important means of coping with stress is to endure the stress. Students believe challenges or difficulties are a natural part of life and that if they endure them patiently, they will survive. By endurance, they mean to tolerate the stress and to maintain harmonious relationships with others. Endurance contributes to their ability to persevere during periods of intense challenge and difficulty.

A computer science student stated:

Last year, I wanted to change my program from doctoral to master, because I did not want to stay at school for so many years and I would like to finish my program as soon as possible. However, even though my advisor said okay about this, he still wanted me to help him finish as much research as I could. Within a month, he assigned me five projects. It was so intense that I needed to find a job, finish my thesis, and complete my coursework within a month. I felt I was unable to handle so many projects at the same time. However, I did not whine at all, but just endured it, because I felt the situation would be worse if I fought against with my advisor. I endured these multi-tasks with courage, patience, and hard work. Usually, I went home at 2 o’clock in the morning and got up as early as five o’clock. I even slept in my lab for many nights. (Participant 15)

An environmental engineering student stated that endurance helped her go through a difficult time patiently.

My major is environmental engineering. What I was doing with my research is to defuse the environmental contaminates using the bio-control services. That is, the process of organism growth can defuse or transform harmful elements. However, sometimes, it is difficult for us to tell whether or not all the harmful elements have been defused or transformed. I have to keep doing the experiment until all the harmful elements are proved to be defused. In many times, the results do not match the conceptualized framework. For instance, theoretically only five elements are supposed to remain, while in reality about twenty elements remain.

In a case like this, I have to start all over again. I have to redesign the whole experiment, redevelop the environment, and make the organism grow again. Basically, start everything from scratch. I feel very frustrated and stressed, especially after I kept doing experiments hundreds of times, but still did not get the ideal results. I feel the only thing that can help me is adjusting my experiment design over and over again. I remember one day, I stayed in my lab for all day and all night. I adjusted the test methods more than seventy times but failed in the end. When I got home, I told myself that I have to endure this. I cannot quit, because I am an adult and I should be responsible for what I am doing. This is life. There is no point in talking to friends, parents, or whining and crying. (Participant 14)

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