Midterms are here! A week dreaded by some, and simply passed by others, midterms have all different shapes and forms. Based on friend and peer feedback, I have found the mental health of all to vary. Some are relaxing, gliding through projects with groups, and others are putting in long hours at the library for an impossible exam. While this time is only a small portion of when mental health deviates, I think it’s time we had a discussion on the topic as a whole.
I included student burnout in my title because I feel it strongly influences mental health. I find that this time of the year (middle October-early November) serves as a catalyst for the fried brains of students. I have witnessed many triggers of burnout, based on personal observation. Much of my inspiration for these blogs comes from my personal experience, but also crutches on the things I see and discuss with friends. For example, a trend I have seen is professors who assign new material in their class, while an exam for the last chapter is being taken two days after. This has caused students to be overwhelmed with new material- as opposed to truly learning the previous material being quizzed on at the same time. This leads to excessive cramming, which eventually leads to a burnout and less academic satisfaction (that’s science). While this is certainly not the only and most prominent cause of burnout, it is a common one. Burnout was a term I found to be used frequently during this time of the pandemic last year. Students were no longer efficiently learning from the online style of education, but more “getting it over with”. Yes, the pandemic is not a choice and no, it could not be avoided. But the effects on mental health were significant.
From outside perception, the views on mental health are twisted one. Coming from a much more sensitive and emotionally based society, who focuses so much on the mental health stigma, I find we do a pretty terrible job in enforcing the needs of people with compromised mental health. An example is the mental health days given by some schools before our final exams. A great concept on paper, truly, but demolished when a percentage of students were still being assigned material during these “days off”.
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I am so happy that people today, in all walks of life, are choosing to advocate for mental health. I am beyond proud of those that put themselves out there, talk about their struggles, and let others know they aren’t alone. I am proud of people who chose to take care of themselves today or decide to go see a therapist. I will be even happier when these struggles are being applied and enforced more strongly in the education systems and workplaces. I do see reform happening, and I hope it continues in the future. Until we learn to normalize the stigma, be aware of YOUR mental health and of those around you.