How College Students Protest Exhaustion: A Vicious Cycle

How College Students Protest Exhaustion: A Vicious Cycle

We have the power to change.
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As I sit here and think about the homework assignments I have not done, the test that I have not studied for, and the essays I have not written, I can’t help but blame myself.

Just last night I had a solid two hours to do homework, plus another two hours of time where I would be half asleep but could still get something done. Instead, I watched Netflix and sat with my computer on my lap, maybe writing a total of one page for a paper over the course of three hours. Then this morning I realized I am my own worst enemy.

Yes, the idea of the exhausted college student is romanticized, and I agree that needs to stop because we are all exhausted. But half of the problem is us. And by that I most certainly mean me.

When did it become cool to not do the reading? When did it become cool to do all the homework at the end of the semester, or as close to the due date as we could? When did it become cool to submit papers quite literally minutes before the cut off? I think it happens somewhere between the first day of class and the end of freshman year. That is when college students realize that everyone else waits, everyone else procrastinates, so they may as well too.

Granted, there will always be that week or two in the semester when everything is due and everything gets submitted barely on time because it is barely done because it was all just too much. But what about the other 12 weeks? Why did we stop caring about the other 12 weeks when we could get everything in on time and we could read for class and do the homework?

I think a part of the reason is that we, as college students, have accepted being exhausted. We think that being in college means never sleeping, and barely getting the homework in on time. So that is what we do. It’s a vicious cycle.

Everyone nowadays complains about stereotypes and how much that can hurt because they are never entirely accurate. But what about the stereotype of the exhausted college student that everyone seems to want to fit into? This needs to end as well.

Even if it is my senior year in college, I intend to make a change. As ingrained as habits can be, and as much as we all deserve a night to watch Netflix for hours, I think it is more than plausible to find the time to get all of the schoolwork that needs done completed on time, and done well.

Because quite honestly I deserve that, and so does every college student. Every student deserves to get the most out of their education, they deserve to learn something, and enjoy learning it without being exhausted the entire time.
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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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Dear High School Me, I Am So Sorry For What I Put You Through

A letter that is only to help me vent, let go, and heal from.

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The countless anxiety attacks you went through for being afraid. Afraid of not pleasing your friends, afraid of not being enough, going through the ridiculous boyfriend problems NO teenager should ever need to deal with; For struggling with being positive due to the issues you had at home, and for just simply making your head go completely insane for crap that (in reality) wasn't your fault. I will never forget the nights I cried myself to sleep over the huge amount of stress of multiple issues.

As a dance major in high school, you learn very quickly in the dance world how critical it can be within the other dancers around you, the teachers training you, and the choreographers who recruit you in pieces to showcase at our dance concerts. In almost every dance environment, 'favoritism' is a real thing. If you aren't hard-core trained and full of technique... you're not the best. Judgement can be so toxic in the dance environment only because its always about 9/10 times a competition. You have to fight to be in the dance pieces you want to be a part of. Even when you have that "amazing" group of friends... it all downfalls when it comes to certain things like 'stealing' the spot they wanted, or when they're stressed out about dance itself and take it out on you, and when they just aren't 100% real and decide to talk about you amongst others. It's a real thing.

It's all a mess. A mess within the mindset that you are never good enough. Being in high school, you don't have enough control to make [almost any] decisions for yourself. Aside from dance, even living in the environment I lived in made me get no real escape from any negativity. Being constantly put down, and having to hear countless complaints about you being "useless" and "never doing anything right" can really hurt a kid. Whether you're a child, teenager, or reaching into your adult life... constantly hearing how little satisfaction you give to anyone close in your life can damage you. I still suffer (or freak out) on things that I automatically assume will make me a disappointment to specific people that constantly show/tell me I can't do anything right.

I can only give myself so much credit on the amount of crap I put myself through growing up with all those whom surrounded me. I am thankful in a way to say I went through this because I wouldn't be who I am today without these experiences. I am a very spoken, self driven, and strong woman because of everything. I know what I want, I don't put up with less than what I know I don't need to deal with anymore... and I am me. Plain. Old. Simple. Me... and I rock at being me. I still have so much life left in me and I have yet to even see what's going to change throughout time. It took me two years after high school to finally accept the past for what it was and actually let it go. In which I might have not fully let go, but I know my worth and I know what I want in my life and that's positive people and vibes around me only.

To myself, and to whomever might be in the exact same shoes,

Princess J

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