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Your Mental Health in College

March 5, 2017

This article was written by Kelly Galten

“Some students work themselves to the bone and are just getting by.”

The life of a college student is nothing short of hectic. Classes, a job, social lives, and family are all forces pulling us in different directions. The amount of stress placed on our shoulders is often crushing and sometimes unbearable. Some students work themselves to the bone and are just getting by. Others are cursed with the over-committing gene and load their schedules with obligations. Living in a constant state of stress appears to be the norm today, and it is harming every part of our lives.

A 2012 study published in the research journal Neuron studied the effect of different stressors in young male mice. After varying lengths of time being exposed to stress, the mice demonstrated that they had little memory of familiar objects, and that “repeated stress has a detrimental effect on recognition memory.” Like the mice, students are exposed to high amounts of stress on a daily basis, and as a result are damaging a key function of their brains. Ever had so many things happening at once that you start forgetting obvious details? That’s your brain losing memory, like a computer slowing down when storage gets low. Homework is forgotten in binders, meetings are missed, phone calls and emails go unanswered, simply because we can’t remember.

“Less students are turning to alcohol and smoking, both common ways to beat away the pressure.”

There is incredible pressure to find the perfect career or succeed with perfect grades, preferably as quickly as possible. There is good news in all this, however. Another study, this time from Stress. org, reports that students today are dealing with their stress in healthier ways. Less students are turning to alcohol and smoking, both common ways to beat away the pressure. Women reported relieving stress by volunteering, joining organizations, and working around their own households, whereas men tending to turn to sports or gaming.

Look, we all stress out. We all have our breaking point, and we all take on more than we should. Sometimes, we need to hear that it is okay to relax and take a break. So here you go; it is absolutely fine to take that nap instead of going to that club meeting. Go get food and be late to class this time. Say no when the next potential obligation comes along. It does not mean you are weak, or are failing, or will not succeed. It means you are human, and humans break sometimes. What matters is that you can put yourself back together, and tackle the next bout of stress.

“…it is absolutely fine to take that nap instead of going to that club meeting”

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