College is often one’s first taste of independence. It can be hard to find the balance between fun and work when left unsupervised. A lot is said about students who lean more towards the fun side of the scale.
Pop culture portrays college as a time when young people party on the weekends, experiment with things that are considered taboo, and destroy property with similar efficiency to a kindergarten class.
And while that may be the college experience for some, for others, it’s a time best remembered by piles of homework and overpriced textbooks, late nights, and way too much coffee, and if a student is at the college on scholarship, there’s a lot more pressure to succeed.
Students often brag to each other about how long they stayed up, how tired they are in class, how much caffeine they consume, and how nonexistent their social life is.
The workaholic culture of college can be just as harmful as the party culture. Here’s what you need to know about the workaholic culture in college and how to break free from it.
The Vicious Cycle of Peer Pressure
It can be hard to avoid peer pressure, but it’s important to remember that being tired and stressed means that your work will suffer.
It’s better to have a lighter load and have the energy to do your best on every assignment, than to have too much on your plate and a lack of energy. Sometimes friend groups can feed off each others’ energies and this can lead to a vicious cycle.
If you find that your friends are falling into the trap of overworking, don’t be afraid to voice your concerns. Start praising friends for taking care of themselves, not for working themselves to the bone.
Alternatively, surround yourself with people who genuinely support each other. A supportive friend will discourage destructive habits and be open with you if they’re worried about you.
What Can You Do?
Take frequent breaks while studying. Set alarms. A good rule of thumb is to take a short break every 45 minutes or every hour. During some of those breaks, call a friend or family member just to talk. Even if you only talk for a few minutes, it’s still far better than nothing. Quality is more important than quantity.
Talk to your professors if you’re having a hard time, because a majority of them want you to succeed. If they see that you’re making a genuine effort, that can influence the grade they give you even if they have strict no-extra-credit policies.
Find a hobby. If you can do something crafty that makes you feel accomplished and isn’t for a grade, it can help keep your morale up. Video games are great for this as well.
Some fields are more demanding than others, but if you find that your mental health is suffering because of the workload of your major and nothing seems to be helping, it might be time to talk to a counselor or another trusted adult and reexamine your priorities.
Take Care of Yourself
You are more than your GPA and you deserve to have a positive college experience.
Challenging yourself can be frustrating and take you out of your comfort zone at times, but ultimately leads to a sense of accomplishment.
But if the challenge is difficult to the point where you don’t have time or energy to take care of your basic health and social needs, it’s time to slow down.