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Archives for May 2017

School stress, a closer look at the peril of academic pressure

The countdown is on! As May comes to a close, so does the hustle and bustle – and stress – of the school year. Ask any student how many school days are left. The answer will come without hesitation.

School stress begins early. Preschoolers fear detachment from their parents. Kindergartners stay at school for an entire day. As students get older, stress levels increase dramatically.

Four causes of school stress

College brings definitive changes to a young adult’s life. It is a great time of excitement but can also lead to much stress.

  • For many students, it is the first time living away from parents and family. Everything is foreign and a bit daunting.
  • A college education comes with a high price tag. With student loans and ever rising debt, no student is exempt from financial burden.
  • Ask a college student, “What are you majoring in?” and watch the facial expression. The decision is life changing.
  • Academic stress “may be the most long-term cause of stress” in a college student.


Students attend college to learn, but the stressors are usually more intense than anticipated. This leads to performance issues and takes a toll emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of the students who drop out of college do so for mental health reasons.

– The National Alliance on Mental Illness

It’s important to note that stress, anxiety, and depression are different things.  Stress is a feeling to a certain situation. Anxiety is a response to the stress.  Depression is a chronic state of feeling down. Stress can lead to anxiety and depression, which is why coping with stress is so important. Here’s an example. Students feel stressed because of a situation, such as finals. Anxiety or depression can set in when burdened with overwhelming stress. Stress affects people negatively when it occurs frequently or long term. Did you know that some short term stress is actually beneficial? Short bursts of stress are linked to improved cognitive performance, a stronger immune system, and less social anxiety.

Student Studying

Study drugs and behavioral dangers

Some students experience relentless stress during finals and will do whatever it takes to get through the week. Many stay up for 24 hours straight struggling with extra workloads. They drink highly caffeinated drinks to stay awake as one sleepless night turns into another, leading to dangerous states of sleep deprivation. As some turn to caffeine, others turn to study drugs to get through finals. Study drugs, also called focus drugs, are stimulant medications prescribed for ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) patients but used for non-prescribed purposes. The misuse and abuse of these drugs is illegal, but the trend continues to magnify. A study in USA Today found:

Nearly one-third of college students have participated in the misuse of stimulant prescription drugs at least once while attending college.

– Center of Young Adult Health and Development

Students say drugs like Ritalin, Adderall, or Vyvanse block out distractions helping them focus on their work. High doses of these drugs can cause an irregular heartbeat, seizure, or heart attack. To users, concern over serious side effects is almost nonexistent. Put yourself in this situation. A close friend approaches you. He is sleep deprived from studying through two sleepless nights, has one final left, and needs a grade of 90% to pass the course. He begs you for just one of your prescription Adderall pills and offers you $20. What would you do?

Adderall pills

How helicopter parents increase the concern

Why is there such a big concern with grades? Students need high GPAs to compete for better scholarships and graduate school acceptance. Many students say they fear academic failure, and 59% of students say they feel pressure from their parents to succeed academically. Sometimes the issue is directly related to helicopter parenting:

College students with helicopter parents reported significantly higher levels of depression and less satisfaction in life.

– Journal of Child and Family Studies

How do well-meaning parents add to school stress? An adult child’s independence is decreased when parents stay too excessively involved. As a college student, he or she begins to lack confidence and problem solving capabilities due to constant parent hovering, leading to psychological issues and low self-esteem because the student doesn’t know how to deal with failure on his or her own.

By instinct, parents want to protect their kids, and sometimes the line between compassion and overstepping boundaries becomes blurred. Parenting is difficult! It is a blessing for parents to love, nurture, and support their child during school stress. Continue to do so with guidance. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).

A dustup is brewing on the ranch

It’s high time for a little contest. We’re looking for the meanest, foulest, rinky-dink vehicles to compete with the pristine and truly fetching rides. Is your car so bad it’s good? Does your engine know your back seat more intimately than the motor mounts? That’s ok. At Rawhide, your car donation not only helps at risk youth overcome their pasts, it will create a future.

And if your donation is a Porsche 911, well, that works too (a guy can dream, right?).

The Good. The Bad. The Ugly.

Our donors are the fuel to the incredible flames we have nurtured in not only our guys on the ranch, but also the people we treat in outpatient counseling, the students who attend Starr Academy, and the families who attend our weekend retreats. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and that’s right. Our village is a corporate sponsor, the person who donated a Camry in 1998, a volunteer at a fish fry, and you! To say thanks, we’ve got a little something extra for our donors this summer. Every car donation from May 19th through July 15th will be followed by an invitation to enter a photo contest. All vehicles accepted*: The good, the bad, and the ugly. After your donation form is received, or completed over the phone, you will get an invitation to submit a photo of your car donation. Complete your photo upload steps and voila!

You are entered to win a $500 vacation voucher to Wisconsin Dells.

All photo submissions will be viewable here for everyone to vote. The photo with the most votes wins the vacation voucher. For the best chance to win, share your photo with family and friends to vote. We want to hear the good, and not so good, times you’ve had with the vehicle you donated. Maybe it’s the time you drove up through Door County for your honeymoon, or when you miscalculated the amount of fun you would have on a family road trip to the Grand Canyon in July without A/C. It might not be the best car that wins but rather, the best story. And you don’t’ have to “win” to be a winner. Every completed vehicle donation and photo submission (one photo submission per donation) grants you one free fish dinner at a Rawhide Fish Fry Night of your choice.

Rawhide’s Famous Fish Fry Nights

Rawhide Fish Fry Nights


This is the real prize. We hold our traditional Wisconsin fish fry nights on Rawhide grounds, over 600 acres of serene woods, streams, and ponds, with musical performances and a chance to mingle with other Rawhide supporters. But the real treat is not the gourmet fried lake perch or the fresh gulf shrimp; it’s taking the opportunity to experience the mission of Rawhide Boys Ranch. Our guys in the residential program work in the kitchen and wait on tables, so both the guys and our supporters get a chance to talk and offer a glimpse into what Rawhide means to them. The resident youth receive any and all tips. 
If you haven’t yet made it out to the ranch, there is no better time.

Rawhide is a mission. It’s not easy continually lifting up fallen youth, when you yourself hardly have the strength to raise your own head. So, we need our village. We need our donors, our supporters, the people who write us on Facebook, those who tell us in the grocery store, “I really respect what you guys do at Rawhide.” Our fish fry nights are a way to meet and form friendships with people passionate about helping Wisconsin’s kids and families in their darkest hours.

If you are interested in learning more about Rawhide, seeing our operations firsthand, or want to see the premiere of Rawhide’s very own Spaghetti Western join us May 19th on the ranch (and every 3rd Friday throughout the summer).

*Boats, RVs, campers, snowmobiles, ATV, and other recreational vehicles are not eligible for this promotion, but are always accepted and appreciated