Take action to reduce student stress levels

January 22, 2016

In my first semester at Brandeis, I learned a few things. If you are going to eat at a normal mealtime, expect crowds. I learned that curves on tests are your best friend, but there are only so many Usdan quesadillas you should eat in one week. But out of all the new experiences I have had and all the things I have learned in the past four months, one lesson sticks out especially after finals week; sometimes we do not take care of ourselves in the ways we should.

Many of us pull all-nighters, eating Sherman pizza or Currito burritos for every meal and pushing our bodies to the limit. During finals last semester, I saw many of my friends and classmates fall sick after nights of intense studying. In order to finish that final paper or get those last two hours of study time we are hurting ourselves. We are tiring our bodies and allowing ourselves to become ill.

And once we are sick, there is almost nothing we can do about it, especially if it happens while classes are in session.

Depending on the classes we take or the professors we have, missing class may mean missing important information. So we drag ourselves out of the bed we should really stay in and we force ourselves to go to class, risking infecting other students. With work to do and the weather being so cold, it can be hard to get to Health Services to even hope to get medicine. We just want to lie in bed and do nothing for a couple days, but we have too much work to ignore so we stress our bodies even more. It is a vicious cycle that leaves us exhausted and unhappy.

The responsibility of our health falls on both the university and ourselves. The university should have hand sanitizers available in multiple places in the dining halls and in all buildings. They should also make sure to disinfect dining areas and public areas daily to slow the spread of germs. It should also have a policy for delaying work due dates by a least a day when a student is ill. This will help to lower student stress levels and allow them to recover and rest when they are sick instead of rushing to finish assignments.

We also have our own responsibilities when it comes to our health and wellbeing. We as students should take a step back from work and studying to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves. It is our obligation as adults to make sure we are eating healthily, sleeping for a decent amount of time each night and washing our hands before meals. Even though we are at school to get an education and to do work, we have to make sure we are also taking care of ourselves. In the long run, a degree is not worth damaging our bodies for.

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