Students Are Sacrificing Their Mental Health For Their GPA, And It's Not Worth It

Students Are Sacrificing Their Mental Health For Their GPA, And It's Not Worth It

From one sleep-deprived student to the next.


By: Samay Patel and Sheetal Tadiparty

If you are a student of today, you are likely juggling all kinds of demands, from school, to extracurriculars, part-time jobs and other accomplishments. Across the board, what unites students nationwide is the extremely high stress and anxiety levels. Stress is no stranger, and the degree of risk for anxiety and depression is soaring. The American Psychological Association noted a dramatic increase in psychological problems reported among students themselves.

School is stressful; after all, we are on the brink of starting a new chapter of our lives, starting a career. It's so easy to get caught up in the hecticness of our workload, we often forget to take a step back to appreciate other equally, or even more important things, such as our mental health.

I'm not saying to get those eight hours of sleep every night and completely disregard your grades. Of course, GPA is important. But as students, we should be able to know that it doesn't determine our intelligence or sense of self-worth or your state of mind. Caffeine binges and an hour of sleep is okay every once in a while, but take it from someone who used to do it on the regular: it's not worth it.

Everyone has their remedies for when they're stressed out but the best thing to do is give yourself a mental break, and get the right amount of sleep. Set realistic goals, because so much more is attainable when you're in a healthy state of mind.

As students who attend one of the most competitive high schools in Georgia, stress approaches us a constant in our lives. Throughout my three years in high school, one of the lessons I have learned is to power through no matter how bad it gets. We must be strong-willed to undermine all the tests, quizzes, projects and more that are continually thrown at us. But sometimes, it can all add up to one night or one week.

Students' stress levels today are comparable to mental institution patients. Instead of living in a supportive environment, the agony of high school students is comparable with those declared to be criminally insane.

But why, why do students continue to sacrifice their health for that one test or that one assignment? It is out of fear — fear of not being good enough or fear or not being number one.

I find this to be flat out unreasonable because why would you put yourself at risk for simply trying to be better than others? With this, we push away those we call our friends and isolate ourselves from people who would usually care for us. This toxic environment prevents us from trusting each other fully and in some cases, leads to us bringing down people that we call friends. Instead of trying to sabotage others for something so trivial, learn to help each other and work through hardships we all go through. That way we can be more supportive and understanding of each other.

It's so easy to be caught up in today's world revolving around GPA's and awards and scholarships. We need to take a step back and realize how detrimental it is to our mental health and change our ways.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Poetry On Odyssey: Some Days

A poem that reminds you that you're not alone.


Some days,

You dread the sound of your alarm. You snooze and snooze and snooze and snooze.

When you finally pull yourself out of bed, pressed time forces you to throw on stained sweats

you find yourself chugging a cup of coffee.

You sit on the couch and contemplate calling out of work

You caught the stomach bug,

Or perhaps the flu,

Maybe you broke your collar bone

Or need a new phone

The endless list of excuses repeats through your head as you sit on the couch, wishing you were still in bed.

It takes every ounce

Every breath

Every fiber of your being to pull yourself off the couch

And into the car

And into the building where you work

Some days,

This is just how it goes

You are not alone.

Some days,

You awake to the beautiful sound of birds

Chirping outside your window

The sun sneaks its way into your room

A smile creeps across your face as you realize you are awake to see a new day

You make a good breakfast

You read a few pages of your favorite book

You get your mind ready for the things it will accomplish today

Before you know it you've worked an entire day

Your job is done

As you pull into your driveway,

you take a few breaths

Feeling grateful for another meaningful day.

Some days,

This is how it goes

You are not alone.

Every day is a gamble,

Every day is a gift

The key to getting more good days

Is believing that everyday is one.

You are not alone, this is just how it goes.

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