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The Downside of College Life: Dangerous Student Habits

We all acquire bad habits during the course of our lives, some less serious than others. However, during our college years in particular, we make decisions that may affect us significantly in the years to come. School, new found freedom, relationships, stress, friends, campus living, parties, break-ups and all-nighters may lead us to adopt certain bad habits. You or someone you know may have acquired one of the following habits throughout your college years. Most likely, you’ve paid little attention to them. The first step is self-realization; so let’s take a look:

Taking on more than you can handle

This is an odd habit to include at first glance, yet many people, especially students “spread themselves to thin” or put “too much on their plate.” We feel the need to be over-achievers: achieve A+ in school, be a top volunteer, get a job, play sports and sustain ourselves. Not to complain, but it is both difficult and stressful to be a student today because of these high expectations that parents, professors, and we ourselves have. This may manifest itself in anxiety and stress and some students have committed suicide because of this pressure. 

The key is to learn to say no, even to yourself.  Know when not to take on new tasks. Ask yourself if you are being pulled in too many directions, and if you believe that the stress and pressure you are under could be reduced by being involved in one less activity, than do less. Moreover, one of the fundamental aspects of a successful and happy life is balance.  Doing more than you can handle may result in tasks not being done at their best, because there is always something that is sacrificed at the cost of something else. It may ruin your prioritization skills and leave less time for yourself. As an adult, these tasks become a lot larger, for example instead of juggling school, work and clubs, you begin to juggle, work, children, finances and much more. Knowing when to limit yourself now is very important.

Study drugs

Students experience increased pressure to perform well in school and because of this, increasing numbers have turned to both legal and illegal drugs that have promised to provide them with more energy and focus. These drugs, which pledge to enhance your performance, are easy to obtain, cheap to purchase and have become the new ‘caffeine-high’ of our generation. Fatigue, extreme sleep-deprivation, and stress make these drugs look like an easy option. Drugs such as Adderall, Concerta, and other amphetamines increase the ability to concentrate for allow students to pull successful all-nighters, but there are some dangerous side effects. These amphetamines work by increasing the levels of dopamine to the brain, a feeling that can create serious dependency. Moreover, students have reported the inability to focus without using such drugs. They also require increasingly larger doses for the same effect. Therefore, drug use and withdrawal may result in depression, insomnia, addiction, high blood pressure, tremors and even death. 

It is hard to deal with the pressure to perform academically and the need to the concentrate constantly. Yet the risks outweigh the advantages. If you are deciding whether or not you wish to try these drugs, do research and educate yourself about the possible disadvantages, because without being prescribed by a medical practitioner, there are serious health risks. If you have already started taking these drugs, attempt to live without them and seek professional help if necessary.

The social media addiction

The social media addiction, which is largely a Facebook addiction, is very real. We find ourselves in a pattern of closing Facebook, and then opening it again a few seconds later, either on a computer, phone or tablet. It is a subconscious addiction. The multiple devices that you can open Facebook on, and the curiosity of knowing what others are posting or how many likes you received on your latest post, largely enable it. Facebook is an intelligent company; they adapt each person’s Facebook based on their activity, their likes, where they live etc. to increase the user’s interest in Facebook.  This social media addiction expresses itself in a short attention span; it is disruptive to other activities, wastes your time and portrays little self-control.

A good starting point to reducing the time you spend on social media is to realize how many hours a day you are wasting by keeping a chart. Next try to delete your Facebook for a few days to train your brain to not rely on Facebook or other social media outlets. This usually works, if it does not, try deleting it for longer. Also, instead of spending long periods of time on social media, exercise, cook, speak with friends on the phone or face-to-face to spend your time more constructively.

Take some time to consider the long-term risks for short-term gain resulting from these habits. Think of it as spring-cleaning for you mind, body and soul that will definitely have a positive effect on your life.


Photo Sources:

Innovatively organized, DoSomething.org Western Washington University DigitalTrend.com

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