At the university level and especially towards the end of the semester, classrooms have more empty seats and so do the rooms which house extra-curricular organizations.
In more than a few of my classes, I have noticed an increase in absences. Even here at The Pacer, I’ve noticed less people coming to meetings. I wish the absences stopped there, but sadly, they don’t. It’s everywhere and everything. Students get stressed out toward exam time and tend to feel rising levels of anxiety and depression.
This feeling of being overwhelmed leads most students to stay home, oversleep, over- or undereat and seclude themselves from their typical involvement. Motivation decreases and the amount of hard work getting done fades because stress levels are skyrocketing.
Is it fair to put all the blame on the students? Is it fair to blame procrastination for stress levels? Some might say yes, some might say no, some may feel indifferent to the question because they are so bombarded with exam review questions that they can’t answer the simple questions in life like, “Do you want fries with that?”
Nobody said college was going to be easy, or that life would always be easy, but the number of adults who have said to me, “College offers the largest amount of free-time you will ever have,” is higher than the number of professors I have taking up all my free time. I don’t agree that this is the most free time I will ever have, and if it is, then I’m not sure I’m ready for the real world. I juggle a rigorous course load along with several extra-curricular clubs, a job, parents that want me to come home and the stressors of day-to-day life like laundry, taking out the trash, eating, cooking, cleaning and more.
When you enter the real world, you will typically have a job, maybe with a little take-home work. The difference is that you are not expected to do it all at the same time, and it probably won’t be as mentally draining, because you know what you’re working on instead of pushing your brain every day to learn new things.
The stress of life can bring students down mentally and emotionally, but also physically. Especially during finals, it’s easy to find students pulling all-nighters, sacrificing healthy meals for cheap ones and consuming caffeinated beverages by the bucketful. This attack on your physical health makes it even harder to take care of your mental health.
As this semester and others come to a close, and you find yourself unwilling to go to class and participate in your extra activities, remind yourself why you’re here. Push through and head to class, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay silent about your struggles. There are people who can help and people who want to listen. Depression and anxiety do not have to be the breaking point in your semester and you can find help at UTM.