Students sacrifice mental health pursuing grades

by | Oct 24, 2014 | Opinion


Jasmine Kabatay
Art Director

Being a student is one of the hardest things I’ve had to experience.

Adults settled into careers may think it’s easy, but we all know the reality. Late night studying to get the perfect grade, mac and cheese from the box kind of dinner, and  always being broke — but somehow finding money to splurge on alcohol.

While everyone knows this, what they don’t know is how far many of us can go before we reach our breaking point.

I’ve seen my friends overwork themselves to the point where they’re getting up in the middle of the night because they have a big test or midterm the next morning – and I have also experienced breakdowns because of this. I have focused too much on how my work is and completely stopped caring about myself. I would have trouble trying to find the balance between my personal life and school life because of how busy I would get.

Learning is supposed to be fun, but from what I’ve seen it’s often made students work themselves to the point where they just shut down and end up confused with what they’re doing.

Of course, not all students are like this. I know people that have two part time jobs, go to school, live on their own and manage to get up in the morning and make themselves look presentable in the day. But many of us are not like that.

When I was in high school I would work myself to the point where I would have breakdowns in front of teachers and would stay up until three working on whatever it was I had to get done, then sleep two hours and get up at six to get ready for school. I ran myself on two hours of sleep every night.

In my first two years of college I got the hang of it, but not before I realized I was in a completely different ball field. I wouldn’t say it’s easier.

There were times where I would be up until nearly dawn working on an article or trying to find story ideas for the following day.

From what I see, we feel this pressure to be the best because it’s what we’ve always been told we need to do. When people see a mark lower than 70 per cent, there’s this mentality that says “you suck” and it makes us feel like we need to be better.

At what point was it okay for me to work myself to this point of desperation to get a perfect grade? Why did I have to experience a breakdown in front of my teacher to realize that something wasn’t right? It’s because I kept trying to be better at whatever it was I was doing.

Students and their mental health are so important. I understand what they’re going through, on so many levels. I’ve seen students that are so upset with how they are in school, but continue to stay up late and hate themselves.

Students care more about their grades than they do themselves, and that’s a problem. But I’ve finally learned if I’m feeling pressured and overwhelmed, I should take a few days and tell myself that I’m more important than my grades. I relax at home and do things that make me happy.

At the end of the day, all that matters is how I am, not some stupid number that won’t matter years from now.