Being overwhelmed in college is becoming unhealthy
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College Students Have Glamorized Feeling Overwhelmed And It Isn’t Healthy

Students are creating a culture in which over-stressing to the point of losing sleep and skipping meals is the right way to do college, but it really isn't.

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Tim Gouw

Being in college is difficult, without a doubt.

If your collegiate experience has been or was anything like mine, then you know how it feels to find yourself overly involved in extra-curriculars, saying yes to things you don't have time for, and drowning in coursework that's somehow all due in the same 24-hour period. It can be really easy to get overwhelmed and distracted under these stressful conditions and sometimes self-care takes a back burner.

This is understandable, and it happens all the time, but what isn't okay is our tendency to think that being overwhelmed is the only way to succeed in college.

For whatever reason it has become popular, bordering on trendy, to complain about how you only got 3 or 4 hours of sleep the night before or haven't had time to eat even you should be eating dinner.

This is definitely something that I am guilty of and have done more often than I care to admit, but recently these complaints have almost turned into things we like to brag about. I have witnessed and partaken in countless conversations in which people talk about how they're booked for 8 hours straight with no breaks and pulled two all-nighters the previous week to finish their papers and that they're running on coffee and energy drinks.

Sometimes these conversations even turn into a back-and-forth of people trying to one-up each other, to see who is more busy and exhausted. College students are creating a culture where it's not only normal to be overwhelmed to the point of sleep deprivation and skipping meals, but it's the correct way to "do college."

I have gone through extended periods since starting my freshman year of college in which I have allowed myself to ignore my physical and mental wellbeing in order to focus on excelling academically and in the organizations I am involved in.

I was staying up until unreasonable hours because I was enrolled in too many credits, I forgot to eat because I honestly felt like it wasn't a priority in my schedule, and I regularly had tear-filled emotional breakdowns because I was over-stressed. I felt awful, but I didn't make an effort to change how I was living because I was succeeding in everything I needed to, and it seemed like everyone else was doing it too.

I was at a point where I genuinely thought this was just how the next few years were going to be, and it didn't even phase me anymore. It seemed perfectly normal because almost all my friends and classmates seemed to be equally as overcommitted and tired as I was, and quite frankly it's because it became the thing to do.

I even started to feel like if I wasn't in this state that I wasn't doing enough. That somehow, if I wasn't overexerting myself in a dozen different ways, then I wasn't ambitious enough and that somehow invalidated part of my college student identity.

I started my senior year this August and immediately got back into the same habits as previous semesters. I was well down the path of having my last two semesters of college be the same overwhelming mess, but as I get closer to the end of college and my professional life, I'm starting to realize that this isn't the kind of lifestyle that is going to make for a successful and happy future. The cost of doing well should not be feeling miserable, and now I am on a mission to apply that to my life as much as possible, and you should be too.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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