Fatigue and the College Student

By Kamaya Brantley

Imagine this scenario.

You wake up early every morning to go to class. Then, off to work immediately after classes. Depending on the day, you may have to go to your second job immediately after your first one. When you finally get off work for the day, you have to go to a club meeting for two hours, and then you have to go study for your upcoming test that week. If you’re lucky, you will be in bed by 2 a.m.

Rinse. Repeat.

This may not be the case for everyone in college, but it was definitely the case for me this year. I pushed myself to the limit this semester. I tried to accomplish everything that I wanted despite the effects that it had on my body. I did not care that I needed to go to sleep or that I was wearing myself out by not taking breaks. I had everything I wanted at the moment. The only thing that I had to sacrifice was a nap or two.

That routine worked for a solid three months. And then, in the fourth month, I found myself sliding across the highway into a patch of trees after I ended up falling asleep behind the wheel as a result of extreme fatigue.

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind of life as a college student: having to meet strict deadlines from your classes, go to work, participate in extracurricular activities and work to maintain some semblance of a social life.

In the moment, it may seem like it’s completely okay to be tired all the time because that’s supposedly what college is about. You may find yourself thinking, “So what if I lose a few hours of sleep? I’m young, my body can handle it. So what if I have bags showing up under my eyes? At least my paycheck will look good this week.” It may work for a while, but trust me when I say that it will always catch up to you.

If you’re a college student and you know that you’re taking on too many responsibilities (I‘m looking at you, fellow STEM majors!).

I encourage you to take a step back and truly evaluate your life. No matter what you have going on, you should always make sure that you are putting your health first. If you feel tired, take a break. Or if you ever feel burnt out from school, watch a movie or hang out with friends. At the end of the day, nothing is worth sacrificing your mental and physical health over.

My goal of this story is not to gain sympathy, nor is it to insight pity upon myself. Instead, I truly hope that others can learn from my mistakes and make adjustments where they are needed in order to ensure that they stay on the correct path. It may seem like you have to push yourself to succeed, but there’s no point in doing so if you end up compromising your health before you can truly reap the benefits of your work.

 

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