COLUMN: Self-care should come before your grades


We have two weeks of classes left before finals week, and many students are bracing themselves for the flood of projects, essays and exams coming their way.

I’m about to weather my sixth finals week as a student at IU, and I have to be honest, I am not looking forward to it. The last few weeks of the semester are always so stressful, and I struggle with the balancing act of finishing my assignments, getting enough sleep and taking care of myself.

It’s important for students to remember at some point, you have to put self-care above your class performance.

But it doesn’t help that it’s so common for college students to brag about the extent we’ll push ourselves to get the grade. I overhear college students talking about the number of coffees they’ve had or hours they’ve gone without sleep, almost trying to one-up each other.

This “hustle culture” has been pervasive in my life since I was a teenager, and it’s not only caused by this competition between students. Our school system creates nearly impossible expectations of student productivity, and many of us are overloaded with assignments and exams.

Despite this, it’s important to value your own well-being above anything else. After all, you can’t do well on your assignments unless you take care of yourself.

The New York Times reported that according to a study by Monica E. Hartmann and Dr. J. Roxanne Prichard of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota they found that for each day of disturbed sleep, the likelihood a student would drop a class rose by 10% and grade point average fell by 0.02.

According to J. Roxanne Prichard, an expert on college sleep issues, brain function starts to decline after being awake 16 hours. And you act as if you’re legally drunk after 20 hours awake.

So it doesn’t make much sense to pull an all-nighter to study, only to show up at your exam as though you had just taken a few shots of liquor.

It’s time we kill the culture that encourages college students to push themselves until they can’t anymore.

Take the time to sleep as many hours as you can. Take the time to make a hot meal with at least three food groups. Skip the coffee and drink more water.

These weeks will be overwhelming and exhausting, but no grade is worth our health and well-being.

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