College freshman uses music to cope with stress


By Kendra Taylor

For many freshmen, the transition from high school to college can be stressful.

According to, a counseling website, anxiety among college students has been rising since the 1950s.

They report that a recent University of California Los Angeles survey indicated that more than 30 percent of college freshman feel overwhelmed a great deal of the time, and 38 percent of college women frequently feel overwhelmed.

Alison El-Feraly, 19, uses music to cope with anxiety.

“I think fearless is having fears, but jumping anyway,” said El-Feraly, who decided to learn to play guitar after listening to musician Taylor Swift in middle school.

The University of Mississippi freshman from Helena, Alabama, sometimes plays guitar in the lounges and study rooms in Pittman Hall. She taught herself how to play in the 8th grade.

“It improves my mood,” she said.

El-Feraly said playing guitar is the perfect way to cope.

“For sure, it helps with the anxiety and stress,” she said. “That’s probably the number one thing.”

IMG_8430In 2000, almost seven percent of college students reported experiencing anxiety disorders within the previous year, according to

El-Feraly, a recreation administration major, said she plays the guitar more during stressful times, such as midterm and finals week.

“It gives me a sense of purpose,” she said.

She also enjoys writing lyrics and teaching others to play, like her friend Mississippi native Rebekah Watson, 18.

“If she struggles, she gets really frustrated,” said El-Feraly, speaking of Watson, “so it has been fun to see her push through and get excited when she gets it.”

Watson, 18, describes her new skill as a “procrastination technique.”

“It has definitely increased my patience,” she said. “It is very soothing.”

Watson also finds herself turning to music during stressful times, admitting that she plays more when she is faced with a difficult situation.

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