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Letting go of college stressors

When we were younger, our parents would tell us college would be the best time of our lives, where we would find passion in our lives that would translate to our careers.

Movies told us college was the place that would change our lives for the better, where we would meet the people who would be our lifelong friends, where we would have the time of our lives.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think our parents and the movies were wrong.

With major requirements, major electives, required minors, minor requirements, gen eds and Bell Core classes, not to mention clubs, organizations, convo credits and more, it’s a wonder how anyone ever graduates on time.

Midterms, finals and papers are worth 20 percent of your grade. Where’s the fun? Where are those candid photos of us like the ones of our parents at basketball games?

The pressure to succeed in our careers is overwhelming.

Your dream job won’t hire you unless you have plenty of internships and experience. However, internships won’t hire you without experience- so then, where are you supposed to get experience from?

You could get it from clubs and organizations, sure but that has the potential to take away time from your school, sleep and personal life. The balancing act among sleep, social life and grades is a never ending struggle.

Stress is one of the leading contributing factors in the development of anxiety and depression. As a result of this, more and more students are being diagnosed with depression and anxiety every year.

“More college students are grappling with depression and anxiety disorders than they did a decade ago. Students who are taking a psychiatric medication have also risen significantly in the period measured,” according to Psych Central, an online psychology publication.

In fact, the percentage of students on psychiatric medications have doubled in the last decade.

“In 1998, 11 percent of students reported using psychiatric medications, mostly for depression, anxiety and ADHD. In 2009, 24 percent of those attending counseling reported using psychiatric medications,” according to Psych Central.

We’re all guilty of complaining about our busy schedules, yet we still work our fingers to the bone and as a result. We as a generation are becoming depressed and we’re suffering from anxiety. We’re missing the college experience our parents and the movies promised us.

Our quality of life is hindered by the expectation of success.

So what can be done?

Let go. Let something slide through the cracks every once in a while. Remember perfection is impossible and you are only human.

It may sound absurd, you may be thinking you can’t possibly let go. You have deadlines to meet and coffee dates to go on and advising meetings to schedule. And what about that chapter you forgot to read and the vocabulary you only briefly glanced over.

Let go. Just let it all go.

Your mental health is more important than the vocabulary you need to study. Your sleep cycle takes precedence over an extra credit assignment. It may not feel like it now, but it does.

Manage your time wisely but always leave room for yourself first.

It may be you need to quit some organizations. It may mean you need lessen your course load. It could mean taking a semester off or realizing it’s OK if every now and then you don’t read tonight’s chapter.

So I’m asking all of you to let some of it go. Relax and skirt you responsibilities. Take a day off and focus on what you need.

This advice may not sound wise to you and I understand your reasoning. Take into account that according to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, “14.5 percent of students at one large university screened positive for depression. The American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment likewise finds that 60.5 percent of students ‘felt very sad’, and 30.3 percent say they “felt so depressed that it was difficult to function” at least once in the prior 12 months.”

Further research also shows, “15 percent of graduate and 18 percent of undergraduate students have seriously considered attempting suicide in their lifetimes. Between 40 and 50 percent of these same students report multiple episodes of serious suicidal thoughts,” according to Suicide Prevention Resource Center.

Is that French homework really more important than your mental health?

Manage your time accordingly, stay within your means and take personal time to clear your mind.

Remember to breathe deeply and caffinate infrequently.

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