Skipping Class, Self-Care, and a Surprise

It’s almost the end of the quarter, Aggies! We know exams, projects, and papers must be stressing you out, so here’s a gentle reminder that your physical and emotional health matters. 

I know it’s a super easy thing to say and something much more difficult to believe since some of our classes are set up so that missing one day negatively impacts your grade. But I’m still going to say it: skip your class, stay at home, and take care of yourself so that you can come back stronger. 

I am in no way, shape, or form encouraging people to skip class for no good reason. I can’t even say that I have any authority to tell you to skip class since I’ve never done so during my time at UC Davis. I’m not messing with you. On several occasions, I've been met with a round of applause when I mention it. I used to be extremely proud, but each time I express it I think more about the consequences of this. Yes, from a certain standpoint, it sounds admirable. I possess a real dedication to my academics; however, I would not advise that anyone follow my example because it is sending the wrong message about how we should treat ourselves in times of stress. 

I go to class even when I desperately need to sleep for an extra few hours. Instead I down a cup of coffee (or four) even when I know that caffeine is no substitute for sleep. I attend class even when I am extremely ill. When I am sick, I'm putting others at risk of catching something from me. It doesn't matter how careful and sanitary I am. This is not healthy for me or anyone around me, and self-care should be a higher priority than being physically present in class on days where the work can be made up.

I don't miss a single lecture because I’m dedicated, but because I am paranoid and have no faith in myself to make up the work. I justify my unsafe behavior by employing a slippery slope argument: if I skip one class, I won’t make up the material out of laziness, then I’ll get behind, then I’ll skip more classes, then I’ll fail the class, then I’ll have to drop out of school. I conveniently neglect that friends are there to help, professors hold office hours, and that I will be able to function better when I feel recovered. 

We should not be competing with each other in regards to who can suffer the most. This is encouraging unhealthy behaviors in the name of so-called “productivity” and “hard work”. Being able to work hard and practicing self-care is not mutually exclusive. In fact, sometimes it is hard work to take care of yourself and to take time off even when you feel like it’s running out. 

I’m writing this so that I can be held accountable to a community of students and to let you all know that our health is important while pledging to carry out everything I’ve said when the time arises. I’m saying all of this because it matters and you matter. Admittedly, you have to find your own balance. You might have to make a couple of mistakes before you understand what your limit is, but you can do this. 

I now come to the “surprise” portion of this article! Here’s a short playlist to help you stay strong.

All images and music are not the property of Her Campus.

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