Growing up, we are taught the importance of doing well in school. Studying leads to good grades. Good grades lead to good report cards. Good report cards lead to placement in good classes. Placement in good classes leads to more good classes. And the list goes on.
We are told by our parents that "school comes first." School comes before a social life. School comes before having fun. Before extracurriculars. Before doing the things that truly make us happy.
We live in a cut throat world where students are competing against one another to get better grades, to get into better colleges, to get better jobs, to be more successful -- all because we are taught that these things are important.
Newsflash: Mental health is important!
Can you remember a time that you pulled an all-nighter finishing a project? Or a time that you beat yourself up over a grade that you got, or more commonly, a grade that you didn't get? Can you remember a time that you literally felt yourself being consumed by your own stress? Over your exams and your grades and your group project members that weren't pulling their own weight?
Yup. Because we have all been there.
This cut throat society of ours is so self damaging. And we all feed into it.
There is nothing quite as impeding as stress; as the anxiety you feel as you're trying to submit a paper before its deadline; as the burning of your eyes as you stare at your text book for hours on end trying to memorize pointless information that probably will not make a difference in your life. Stress is so incredibly debilitating, and it sucks that stress is a massive part of college.
This week I read a Huffington Post article, "Your Mental Health is More Important Than Your Grades," and that article is the reason that I'm writing this article. Your mental health is without a doubt more important than your grades. Your mental health is more important than most things; it should be one of your biggest priorities. But college culture doesn't exactly leave much room for good mental health. When we are competing with each other, and essentially against ourselves, we are stampeding over our own sanity and our own wellbeing.
So, to the student that is reading this right now, who very likely might be stressing over their future or their grades or whatever else it is that students stress about: just remember to breathe.
You are so much more than a grade point average in a computer system or a name on the Dean's list. You are more than a student.
You are a person; you are you. And that is your advantage. Maybe you don't have the highest grades and maybe you're not the best studier or the best student. And these things are more than OK.
Take a step back. Take your head out of your textbook or whatever it is that you are doing and think about the larger picture.
Yes, hard work leads to success; so, yes, it is important to work hard. But maintaining your sanity and living a healthy life are way more important than hard work or success or any of these things will ever be.
Just remember all of this next time you're crumbling under pressure or breaking down from the stress.