Crazy girlfriend or just a stressed university student? – Research Proposal

No need to have a boyfriend to tell you you’re crazy, University parking will do the job for you.

From tears of joy and happy squeals when your car is parked, to tears of anger and aggravated voice box’ when you’re stuck in traffic; finding a car spot at University is a lot like having a partner who is bipolar. Following these emotional breakdowns; how is a university student supposed to deal with the stress of not only finding a car park but now also dealing with missing a class?
As a second-year university student, the struggle to manage the time and ideal transport situations have become dependent on how I have handled myself throughout the day. Therefore, through these personal experiences of dealing with missed classes, I have decided to narrow the research of finding a car park at a university to “How does service provision stress affect service participation?”

The research will be based on the emotional factors of stress, anxiety, anger, relief and (hopefully) happiness when driving to university. Students from the University of Wollongong will be the subjects surrounding this topic and be handpicked to complete a survey. The survey will include both open and closed questions to collect not only qualitative responses but quantitative results to differentiate those who don’t drive to university. These questions will also vary depending on information found through other research.


“Transport and infrastructure are the physical fabric that binds society together”

The importance of transport is a critical aspect for all students attending university – this either being public transport, driving, or walking. Therefore following my own personal research is the secondary sources from other universities and researchers who have conjoined similar theories between emotions and students. A clear example of this is a journal¹ written by Louise Crabtree, Christian Nold, Kaye Shumack, and Jason Tuckwell which highlights traffic and parking conditions surrounding the University of Western Sydney. Although this information is based around those certain areas, the article highlights where students feel more at ease, bored, and angered; exampling when students are more reluctant to let someone through, stop, or when they began to be distracted.

“Finding a parking spot on campus at the university has become a serious dilemma, as the university does not provide an adequate number of accessible spaces. The undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff and even visitors search through limited options when it comes to on-campus parking”²

I have recently realised that staying awake past 11pm is no longer possible if I don’t want to feel fatigued and stressed the next day at university. Therefore, the above research can be explained through the emotional warnings our body gives off when indecisive decisions come along. The DMV site³ accurately explains how these negative emotions can lead to serious impairments whilst driving, for example, road rage and distractive behaviour can leave an individual feeling anxious about future decisions. Add these negative feelings with trying to concentrate in class and you end up with a moody adolescent who wonders if the car spot was worth even attending university.

Although as moody as I am, the aim of this research project is mainly for personal value as I overlook not only the emotional factors but also how students deal with concentrating under the stress of previous ordeals. Buzzfeed’s article “The 12 Emotional stages of finding a parking space” will help assist in understanding this better as it emphasises the practicality of driving with the majority of the Sydney population following. With plenty of metropolitan areas offering public transit, there still manages to be a large population of students under pressure for those who are forced to rise earlier, have no seat on the bus, and take a longer route than those who drove. Therefore, the adjustment to these circumstances still puts an individual in a sticky situation.

So what does it take for a student to relax?

These are the situations and compromises that I will have to overlook when studying the students at Wollongong University as it can cause a dilemma when reviewing who drives, walks, or takes public transport. Another factor that I will have to worry over is that stress is very common throughout university students, in fact, The Sydney Morning Herald wrote that in 2010 university students had a high rate of stress that is three times worse than the general population. It was said to believe that 83.9% of students were under pressure. This is a clear indication that it may not only be transportation services that put students under stress.

These simple and popular sources are a clear support to my investigation. I hope through these to achieve the results of understanding the pressures that students are under and hopefully assist in finding ways to undergo stress free alternatives.

  1.  Crabtree, L, Nold, C, Shumack, K, & Tuckewell, J 2011, ‘Transport mapping: emotional cartography, mobility and the body politics of place’, Global Media Journal, vol 1, pg12.
  2. University grossly oversells parking permits – The Review. 2016. University grossly oversells parking permits – The Review. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 March 2016].
  3.  How Emotions Affect Driving | 2016. How Emotions Affect Driving | [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22March 2016].
  4.  The 12 Emotional Stages Of Finding A Parking Space. 2014. The 12 Emotional Stages Of Finding A Parking Space. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 25 March 2016].
  5. Jane Collins, S. Stress stalks uni students, The Sydney Morning Herald. 2010. [ONLINE] Available at:  

3 thoughts on “Crazy girlfriend or just a stressed university student? – Research Proposal

  1. Hi Friend,
    was just reading your blog post and I think I have found a great source that might help you about the other stress effects that university students face as well as the repercussions that stress has on students I.e. skipping breakfast, bad sleeping patterns and over exercising. This source will be relevant as it focuses on Australian university students and looks at both male and females and the mental and physical effects of stress.
    Enjoy your research!


  2. Great blog Georgia! I really enjoyed the humorous introduction. Your choice of topic is something that really intrigues me and I am looking forward to hearing your results. I have found this study that may assist you with your research,%20No.1%20(2009)/12-Lin-18.pdf – the article focuses on students from 10 different universities and colleges and identifies the top contributors of stress for those interviewed. Its definitely worth a read!
    A suggestion as to how you could make your project easier is to keep the focus of your research on stress associated with just the parking aspect of university, otherwise your project may end up being too large and extremely stressful (ironic right?).
    Keep up the great work!


  3. This is a really engaging approach to a topic that is surprisingly serious. So I’m just going to see if you can make it smaller. The first task will be to figure out how to develop an instrument that enables students in this study to report stress levels to you after arriving on campus. Do some research and see what you find. Then using your classmates, see if you can detect variations in self-reported stress levels that you can definitively attribute to parking, using your survey. The next step will be to ensure the you have this contained within BCM210 students as there are some sensitivities to this topic. But I think you have a large enough sample to find out something interesting.


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