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Sleep deprivation and stress are not badges of honor

As we know, college students tend to have insanely crazy schedules. Between hours spent in classes, clubs, jobs, late nights studying in Fogler and the time we devote to our friends and relationships, it’s amazing that we get to sleep at all. The hectic nature of college is not necessarily a bad thing. Experiencing the pressure of balancing work and life is how we learn to be adults.

However, there is a certain line regarding productivity — it marks the difference between being a responsible, committed student or becoming a mess of intense anxiety and struggle. I have seen too many people cross this line.

Sometimes, we find satisfaction in our drained selves. It is evident in the dark circles decorating our faces, the third cup of coffee in our hands and the nearly-proud announcement of “Guess who only got three hours of sleep last night?” We joke, we quietly compete and we bask in our exhaustion. Because we’re getting things done, right? Last night may have marked the second panic attack of the month, but you finished that essay. And that is what matters above all, right? Maybe not. Maybe it is better to drop one club position than to fall asleep at breakfast, or better to turn in an assignment a day late than suffer a breakdown due to your overwhelming workload.

It is so important to consider your personal well-being while in school. On your to-do list, health and sleep may seem like your lowest priorities, but depriving yourself of much-needed TLC will leave you rundown. Lack of sleep can compromise your immune system, increase stress and cause weight gain and depression. A life of constant high stress can affect your performance in classes or strain your relationships. As such, I cannot emphasize it enough: take time for yourself. Even though you may not believe it, it isn’t necessary to be active and doing something all the time — you’re only human. You aren’t a superhero, and there is no need to sacrifice yourself like one.

Take time to do something you like outside of academics, work or extracurricular activities. Even 30 minutes a day would give you a necessary mental break. Find a hobby! Paint, bike, play guitar, journal or do some yoga. Or if you’d rather make a complete escape from the real world, just watch some Netflix, play a round of League of Legends then take a nap. Either route works because it isn’t ever a waste to take a little time for yourself. Trust me, your future self will thank you.

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