It’s that time of the semester that makes or breaks us. Final projects are piling up, midterm grades are in — final exams around the corner. It’s that lull before the storm; just a few weeks from finals, just a few weeks from the ultimate deadlines, just a few weeks before we can’t drop a class, just a few weeks before we register for classes. We were pulled into a sense of false security over Spring Break, but now it’s time to kick ourselves into action.
During times like this, it’s easy to get swept away.
Students will boast about their all-nighters, practically competing to see who worked harder, who got less sleep, who skipped more meals. It’s easy to get caught up in that game. Who spent more time in the library? Who stayed up later? Who wins? Who gets that title of “most dedicated student”? Sometimes, listening to people talk about their third all-nighter of the week, you can feel like you’re not doing enough.
We’re not saying that as students we shouldn’t study, far from it. We understand the importance of hard work, of giving up a weekend vacation to study for physics, of staying up a little later to perfect that paper, of skipping a night out to attend a Study Edge session. This is all important.
We’re just trying to say that you, dear readers, and your health — physical, emotional and mental — is important, too.
Sometimes, yes, it is necessary to pull a late night, to survive on less sleep than normal, but we shouldn’t be glamorizing those behaviors and holding them up as hallmarks of a good student. There comes a point where we need to recognize that, yes, it is okay to sleep. Yes, it’s okay to take a break to get some food. Yes, it’s okay to put away your work for a moment and go on YouTube and watch cat videos.
We get caught up in this idea that the most brilliant, dedicated student is the one who does nothing but schoolwork, and even if we try our hardest and end up with a subpar grade, we blame ourselves for not being that student, who sacrifices sleeping, eating and showering to dedicate more time to school.
Of course, not all of us blame ourselves like that. We’d like to think that most of us recognized those extreme thoughts, and even though we might get them every so often, we acknowledge that they are ridiculous and that, yes, we deserved to take a break and cook something the last time we were studying.
But there are some of us who get stuck in those thought patterns. That even though we’re trying, we could be trying even harder. That if we’re not perfect, we must be doing something wrong.
We’d like to address those of us who fall into that category: It’s okay to take a break. Take a deep breath. Put things in perspective. It’s important to work hard, but it’s also important to take care of yourself. Sleep is important. Eating is important. Taking a break is important. If you’re so focused on one problem or one part of a big project that you just can’t seem to crack, occupying your mind with something else often helps. If anything, it will take the stress away for a brief snippet of time and refresh you for when you get back to work.