It’s the beginning of December, and here at NMSU, that means finals week is closing in on us. It’s officially that time to stress out, over school, life, etc. Trust me, I know from first-hand experience how finals week turns into literal hell. Professors decide to assign 10-page essays or projects, or 100+ question-filled exams, completely forgetting the fact that most students are enrolled in multiple classes a semester. At the end of the week, all those final assignments pile up, and it’s the students who suffer mentally because of it.
We can’t always control how professors ignore the mental health of students, but we can try our best to take care of ourselves. This can sound crazy to a lot of academically obsessed students out there, but you come first. Not school. If you ever need or just want a break, you deserve one. For a lot of people, it’s hard to even get out of bed and go to that early morning class. If you decide to sleep in, that’s okay. If you decide to splurge on a tastier coffee, do it. At the end of the day, you can be mentally, and physically drained, and even those tiny bits of indulgence can make a rainy day a little sunnier.
It doesn’t help that, being in the middle of a pandemic, we are all out of our comfort zones. Our social batteries drain faster, and we have lost social skills that have taken us years to gain. We are all so stressed out over so many things: the pandemic, our families, our friends, school, that we lose sight of what we need. We college students have never had to deal with this before, and it’s made our mental health worse. Before the pandemic, I never expected so much anxiety over leaving my house to go grocery shopping, and now all I can think of is the germs that permeate the air. But it’s a double-edged sword, as I now dislike being in public, but I also hate being inside my house for too long. Both of these situations leave me riddled with anxiety, which obviously isn’t very helpful when it comes to academics.
Now it is more important than ever that we take care of ourselves to the best of our abilities. Only we know how hard it has been for us, so we need to recognize what we need and deserve. I know I deserve that Starbucks coffee to pick me up, and I deserve that Netflix binge instead of studying for hours. Of course, I know that I do need to focus on school, but how can I really focus when mentally, I am suffering? Taking some time to heal yourself is beneficial. Even taking a hot shower, or eating that desert, is something you can do. These things are not meant to be seen as rewards, instead, they are something that you actually need for your overall well-being.
Remember that you are not the only one going through these things, and whatever else that may be bothering you. There are people around you that can help you, even if all you need is just some kind words. Remember that you are the main character in your own story, and you deserve all the best things that life has to offer. And, most importantly, remember that you need to breathe. In and out, over and over. Don’t stifle yourself because you believe you need to fight through whatever is hurting you. Take time to yourself, and take care of yourself.