College students live their lives in extreme ways. They want to do big work and reap big rewards, but that ambition can lead to a burnout. The toll of trying to do everything is both physical and mental. A burnout can quickly change students’ attitudes from, “This is the best work I can do” to, “I don’t care about anything anymore, here’s whatever.” Your phone is left unanswered, the curtains are drawn closed, and you’re eight hours into Orange is the New Black before you even consider doing schoolwork. Attending class as a stressed-out, sleep-deprived zombie means that everything you do throughout the day is compromised. Every college health site will tell you that the key to a successful college career is dependent on one’s ability to balance life. The CCSU Counseling and Wellness Center’s website on stress acknowledges that changes in your college routine can have a poor impact on your health: “A change in environment, major, course load, social circles or other factors may contribute to high stress levels, which may have a negative impact on numerous aspects of your quality of life.” It should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever pulled an all-nighter that a sound sleep schedule is one of the biggest factors in living a balanced life.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people under the age of twenty-five have some of the highest incidents of accidental daytime napping and falling asleep while driving, stemming from their lack of nightly sleep. The thing is, pulling all-nighters is terrible for your health and your grade. Despite what college students like to think, sleep is not a choice; it’s a necessity. The human body needs it to function. It contributes to your mental and physical health. The CDC says that “persons experiencing sleep insufficiency are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as from cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity.” Students aren’t going to prioritize sleeping more when their grades are at stake, so they need to plan and organize their schedules. For some, that means facing a reality check about what they can feasibly accomplish and learning how to ask for help if necessary. It doesn’t take too long into the semester for work to start piling up.
The Wellness Center’s site points out that “everyone gets stressed from time to time. Even if you think the problem might ‘fix itself’, you can always give us a call.” Student burnout has not escaped the notice of college administrations, either. They understand the demands of student life and have made efforts to assist students with stress. Often, asking for help is as simple as meeting with your professor to discuss class issues and voicing concerns, but there is also other support on campus. The Yale University Student Wellness Center’s suggestions for handling student stress include building a support network and practicing breathing exercises. Fairfield University offers a whole list of wellness support groups for their students, including one titled, “Chilling Out: A CBT Approach to Anxiety,” where they teach students how to combat inner anxiety using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques. On the CCSU campus, there are similar classes, such as the weekly Moment-to-Moment meditation sessions. These classes are free and open to any student on campus. They use a variety of meditation techniques to help you relax your body and focus your mind. Sessions are held every Tuesday in Davidson Hall, room 123, from 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
As college students, we usually don’t want to talk to anyone until absolutely necessary. Visiting a counselor may not be for you just yet, but that’s not the only option. CCSU’s Counseling and Wellness Center offers student services online. If you’re worried about your mental or emotional state, they have online assessment tools to help gauge your well-being. The self-assessment program can be found here.
College is hard, but that doesn’t mean that you have to struggle through it. There is plenty of support to be found on campus and utilizing it will help you have a well-balanced college experience and a successful transition into the real world. Sweet dreams included.