At this point, the Spring 2023 semester is wrapping up at the University of Connecticut, and students are likely starting to feel the building pressures of these last few weeks. Really, with only a week and a half between now and the beginning of this semester’s widely-dreaded finals week, it’s important for UConn students — and all college students — to remember to take care of themselves first and foremost.
Nowadays, self-care is touted constantly across various platforms, including innumerable social media posts and promotions from university administrations and corporations alike. But repeatedly hearing messages asking one to take the time to practice self-care is significantly different than actually being able to do so.
The Daily Campus Editorial Board encourages students to remember they are human beings first, before they are college students. And while the mental health, physical health and general well-being of an individual should always come first no matter the time of year, this is an especially important discussion in this moment.
In the nonstop, competitive and borderline exhausting environment that is college, it’s easy to get so overwhelmingly busy that the only way out of your deadlines is multiple all-nighters in a row. Further, our societal obsession with productivity — and its attractiveness on a resume — encourages us to accept this as just “the way that it is in college,” rather than questioning the larger structures that make college students so busy.
Thus, The Daily Campus Editorial Board implores students and administrators alike to question why there is a deeper need for constant messaging emphasizing the importance of taking care of one’s health.
The American higher education system does not set students up for success. General education and major requirements are demanding, so fitting one’s course load into four years is already challenging enough. On top of that, the exorbitant and constantly rising price tag on the college experience doesn’t allow much room or flexibility for deviating from this plan of study — hence, an almost impossibility to put one’s health before their grades. When the cost of missing an assignment could be the thousands of dollars it might require to retake a course over the summer, it’s no wonder students are stressed out.
At this point, the system is built to exhaust all of the resources a student has, from both a monetary aspect, and further, a student’s energy levels and subsequent well-being. As students are asked to put all of their time, money and energy into being a college student, they are also asked by administrations and corporations to “take care of themselves” on the individual level via persistent self-care marketing.
Therefore, a systemic shift is necessary — one that first prioritizes human beings, from the eyes of university policies, practices and administration, before it places that responsibility on students themselves without providing an environment that allows one to do so.
Additionally, as a reminder, there are resources available to UConn students on campus. For example, Student Health and Wellness offers immediate “free and confidential mental health support 24/7/365.” Furthermore, many campus organizations including SUBOG and USG often run various finals care events. While many of these resources have necessary improvements to be made — such as increases in funding that would allow more students access to such resources — their presence on campus is certainly a start.
In the meantime, take care of yourselves and your community, and hopefully you can find solace in the fact that the finish line is in sight.