It's funny that in a time where mental health is being destigmatized, that the people who are supposed to support us, help us, and mentor us, tend to disregard that aspect of our life. I've found that in the world of university, a lot of professors put an emphasis on showing up to class, studying, getting good grades, etc. While that is all very important and should be done, there are some circumstances that cannot be walked around. One being, mental health.
In fifth grade I had a teacher give some advice that has echoed throughout my entire education:
"It's okay to take a break for you. You know your body and its limits, if you need a day off, take it off."
While that was inspirational and all, I didn't quite utilize it until I entered college. I hated to miss class (still do) and was always the one who would show up to class bright and early no matter what the weather. Entering college though, I realized that some days, for my sanity, I just couldn't.
Whether you have a social anxiety disorder, depression, constant panic attacks, etc. you are entitled to treating yourself with the utmost care. The threat of a grade or a point off something shouldn't be the reason why you suffer through a class period, too caught up in your mind to even hear what is coming out of the professor's mouth.
Sometimes after a panic attack, you just need to rest.
Sometimes you just can't get out of bed.
Some days you just need to go to someplace quiet and read.
Some days you just need a mental day off.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying skip all your classes every other day for a "mental health" break. It's important to push through the hard days and show up and conquer the waves of hardship that is pushing against you. I just want you to know that it's okay to stop, sit back, and spend a day on yourself.
I've seen people with a fever drag themselves out of bed just to get to their class because if they miss a day their professor will dock points from an assignment.
I've sat in class with wave after wave of a panic attack hitting me and being too afraid to leave because I didn't want the professor to think ill of me "slacking off."
I've had friends cry their hearts out because of how they can barely get themselves out of bed but have to for the sake of a single assignment.
In these recent months, I've learned that mental health comes first before anything else. You can always retake a class, but you can't improve your health if you constantly disregard it.
So I will show up to class, do the work, ask questions, work hard, but I will also take a day off if I need it. To the professors out there, I am not slacking off or "skipping," but simply taking a single absence in a wave of hundreds of "here" to get myself back on track.
To the students who go through class suffering inside, take that needed day off. Go to counseling instead of class, take a hot shower, exercise, breathe, take a break. The class will resume the next day and you can continue going for the rest of the year. Sometimes you just need that one day for you.
So go do it for your mental health. For your future. For your sanity.