College students find themselves overly stressed as pressures rise

By Abby Lindenmeier

Sophomore Social Work major, Photographer

As a college student, I have come to realize that we glorify being busy. We tend to pack our schedules with classes, work and organization-related activities. We commonly run on lack of sleep, lots of caffeine and are struggling to keep awake every day, telling ourselves that it will all be worth it in the end, but at what cost?

We often correlate being busy with being successful. A majority of students cram their days with everything under the sun, thinking that the less free time they have, the better they are performing in their college career. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make sure we always have something going on and are always working.

Unfortunately, this often leads to a lot of unhealthy habits such as lack of sleep. College students get roughly six to seven hours of sleep per night, going against the recommended seven to nine hours per night.

As a matter of fact, the majority of students get less because we are often trying to make time for studying, working or hanging with friends, and the night gives us the opportunity to do so. The lack of sleep often has a huge impact on our GPA, health, stress levels and our overall ability to function properly.

Our minds have been adapted to constantly being busy. If we have free time, we scroll through social media, check up on emails or grades, look over our calendars to see what is on the agenda for next week.

We also tend to forget to prioritize self-care. Sometimes, we even feel guilty if we are spending our time freely. While watching Netflix, we think, “I really should be getting some work done.” While reading a book for pleasure, our minds often wander and think “Is this really what I should be spending my time on? I have plenty of other things I should be doing right now.”

We were raised to believe that you need to be stressed in order to be successful, and unfortunately, we have trained ourselves to believe that busy is the new normal.

I always hear other students say how crazy their schedule is packing in events, activities, meetings and work, all from morning to night, always forcing themselves to get it all done. We often forget to realize that this perfectionism isn’t always attainable, and constantly being busy may not put us ahead.

I went on to ask Cleveland State University college students about what it means to be busy.

One student, a sophomore nursing major said,“Usually, when I think about being busy as a college student, I think of studying or working on an assignment for a class. However, as a college student, there are additional basic responsibilities such as working, cooking and cleaning that can add to your busy schedule. Being busy can make it very easy for anyone to become stressed, and it takes away from your ability to have fun with friends and do things you enjoy.”

Another student, wishing to remain anonymous, said, “I feel like I am always either in class, studying or at work, and it can sometimes be difficult to find time to myself. I need to plan ahead for every activity I do, and there is little to no flexibility in my schedule. There is so much that college students need to balance at once, and it seems like a lot people forget that.”