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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Chilling Out When The Heat Is On

Academics are the reason that all of us came to college. Sometimes though, the work gets so intense and prolonged that our grades actually begin to suffer. A student today faces so much stress and pressure that it begins to take a serious toll on their attitude and day to day well being.

Students with extremely challenging majors know that a student must take a break sometimes, even when there isn’t much time left. Students in medical school are advised on their first day and receive advice from professors to take time out to play sports or enjoy a hobby. This isn’t just feel good politically correct advice, but something that is actually very practical.

Personally, what works best is something that completely gets my mind off of school work for a short time, something that gives me the realization that as important as school work is, there is more to your life story than just a grade on a transcript.

Trying to do something that you enjoy so much that you forget about the stress for a while goes a very long away to keeping you from getting burned out. In fields where the stress is high and time to relax is in short supply, people often suffer something called ‘burnout.’ This is where they stop being able to enjoy things that they used to and feel stressed even when not doing anything. This is actually a major problem with people who have high intensity and very draining jobs like cops, physicians and others. This kind of burnout can cripple someone’s work ethic and desire, and really throw a wrench into your schoolwork.

This kind of advice has been usually reserved to students in graduate school, undergraduate students are usually left to fend for themselves, but as competition, expectations and work load increase, this becomes more and more relevant to undergrads.

A great thing for campus to do would be to make the mandatory freshmen seminars that students are already required to take and make them about adjusting to the amount of work and stress that some students will face.Doing creative and funny things with your friends also helps, because it helps you live in the moment and not worry about the past or future for a little while.

This emphasis on taking care of one’s mental state also translates to a healthier attitude to life after college. Stress today kills many people and sends many people to the hospital. Over the summer I worked in a cardiac care unit and saw many people who came in very sick and some who died, because of how stressful their lives were. Today American attitudes have shifted in a way that people are looking at the destination and not the journey.

In Europe, free time is valued and encouraged. This intense work ethic might be a throwback to America’s Puritan roots, but on a larger scale, if we all take a little time to stop and smell the roses from time to time, we might actually end up happier than when we are fully entrapped in  the working world.

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