I wake up at 6 a.m. to get ready for school. I get out of class at 10 p.m. When I’m not in school, you can find me in my apartment, studying for my upcoming assignments, writing essays, planning for midterms, working on presentations, and obsessing over quizzes. “Please watch any movie about world history before next class,” said one of my professors last week. When am I supposed to have time to watch a movie when I don’t even have time to eat or sleep?
When I get home from school, I’m exhausted. I’m too tired to shower, too tired to eat. I can’t even have a conversation with my boyfriend because it feels like my head’s about to explode. Even though I’m exhausted, I still can’t sleep. Because at the end of the day, I have a long list of new assignments, essays, midterms, presentations, and quizzes I must prepare for until next week, and every second I spend doing something else but studying, a wave of guilt washes over me. School isn’t easy, and you have to earn a good grade. But at what price?
Anxiety is the leading concern among college students today with 41.6 percent, followed by depression at 36.4 percent, according to American Psychological Association. Thirty-one percent of college students have felt so depressed in the past year that it was difficult to function. On top of that, suicide is the third leading cause of death on college campuses.
As if school doesn’t take up most of our time, the majority of us also have a job (sometimes even a full-time job), children, and relationships – you know, a so-called life. Relationship problems are the third major concern among college students, because when are we supposed to have time for our private life? When we’re not in school, we’re busy either working our butts off, because let’s not forget about those student loans, or we’re busy trying to keep our heads above water and not get anything lower than a B, because that would be a disaster.
The average college student has student loan debt of roughly $17,000. The average student with a postgraduate degree owes around $45,000, according to Pew Research Center. You may have thought that the stress will be over once you graduate, but the ugly truth is that your debt will haunt you for at least the next 10 years of your life.
A good diet, enough sleep, and exercise is crucial to obtain good mental health. I can only speak for myself, but ramen noodles, three hours of sleep, and sitting down in front of my computer all day sounds more like the antithesis of that. I should do better, but I don’t have time.
I wish I had the answer for you, but surviving college without getting a spoonful of anxiety or a pinch of depression is just as likely as RedBull giving you wings.
Pray for me, will you?