Staff Editorial: Stress is not the benchmark for student success
On a campus where students love to compare workloads, self care is never more important
If midterms are driving you crazy, just know that you are not alone. Take a moment, breathe in deep and find something you love doing. Trust us, it just might ease your mind.
Psychologist Shatina Williams, interim assistant director of outreach consultation at the University’s Counseling Center, suggested to The Eagle the best ways to care for yourself and your mental health in the midst of midterm madness. Although she said it differs from person to person, how you respond to stress is the number one way of making it through the mentally taxing semester. Whether it be going on a walk, taking a nap or watching Netflix, how you control that internal response is entirely up to you. The key is to find your balance.
The Eagle staff believes it is very important that these topics be understood and discussed. American University is a stressful campus in a high-tension city. Without the proper self care, it isn’t long before that pressure can make someone burst. For that very reason, it is even more important that a particular fallacy be deflated.
There is a notion on campus that if a student is not stressed, they must not be busy enough -- which, of course, causes that student to stress. If a student is not interning, working a job or involved in an organization, they are thought to be doing too little. Students feel pressure to do everything, when in reality, doing everything is just not feasible.
Too often, students chat over their mutual lack of sleep. Working on several different projects without sleep is inherently damaging, and should not be the expectation. For a campus so concerned with mental health, American University students often throw judgement at each other where none should be necessary.
Of course, there are some professors who have taken it upon themselves to lead this charge. Several have implemented mindfulness in their classes, allowing students a moment to collect themselves and release their tension. The Eagle implores professors to continue this trend and set the standard for self care in the classroom.
Yet, it’s on us, too. Students should reach out to one another, to their friends and to their roommates. Constructive conversations help combat the loneliness of mental health. There is no reason students should not feel like they can reach out to their peers and ask for help.
The Eagle remains steadfast in its support of students struggling with stress, and encourages everyone to step back and find some time to do what they love doing. When it comes to your mental health, there are truly few things as important.