School. Homework. Job. Sleep. This is the daily routine that most college students are stuck in. As a college student, I am expected to stay on top of my schoolwork, have a job, find an internship for the summer, go to all of my classes, take care of my mental health and find time for self care. There are only 24 hours in a day; it is quite impossible for me to complete all these tasks, yet like other college students I do. So, how do most college students complete all of these tasks? We work ourselves to our breaking points and sacrifice our mental health.
The majority of college students come to college because they want to succeed. College students want jobs, I know I do. I came to college because I knew bagging that degree would increase my chances of getting a job. We live in a society that expects college students to do everything and be the best at everything.
The Light Program says one of the causes of mental health issues in college students is the pressure to succeed. The definition of success is constantly expanding. As years go by, college students are required to do more to be successful. A successful college student does not just get an A, they also have an internship and are actively involved on campus. Currently, I am involved in 6 organizations on campus. I absolutely love my organizations but the reality is one of my motivating factors behind joining these clubs is that I know these organizations will contribute to my success in the future. As a college student, I don’t want to fail. I don’t have time for failure. Therefore, like other college students I am burning out.
An American Psychological Association’s Stress in America study found that “ 87% of students said their education was a significant source of stress and stress is often linked to burn out.” Students are facing burnout because they are stressed. Combine this stress with a lack of sleep and you have a mental health crisis. We are literally in a mental health crisis because college students are being forced to do everything. College students are not superheroes. I know I definitely am not Batman. I am just Jeanine. I just want a good life.
College students should not have to sacrifice their mental health to be successful. The fact that the majority of college students are sacrificing their mental health to be successful is ridiculous. I know this because I see it. When I speak to other college students, I always hear them say “I got less than 5 hours of sleep but I am okay.” But it is like they are lying! They are not okay but of course college students are going to say they are. It is normal for college students to be overworked. There are literally overworked and sleep deprived students all over NC State. I am one of these students.
Columbia psychiatry states that sleep deprivation leads to anxiety and depression. So, sleep deprived college students are far from okay. And it is only worse for students of color. But let’s be honest, when is it not? Students of color are more likely to feel the pressure to be succsseful. College is a set up. College students pay money just to get mental health issues in return. These are the same mental health issues that college students will deal with after college. The whole thing is a BIG set up. Regardless, we are here and it is what it is. We will get through it.