University students these days are immersed in what is called the “grind”: the idea that we need to work as much as we can 24/7 to see any reasonable productivity.
I’ve seen this manifest in different ways, whether it be romanticizing all-nighters on apps like Instagram, or the push for women specifically to somehow have their life together (eat, gym, work, sleep, repeat!) all the time on Tik Tok and YouTube.
Mindset hard to escape
Anyone should be able to see the issues with this, but not everyone can acknowledge how hard it is to escape that mindset once you’ve gotten into it.
It’s reinforced not only by social media but also in various academic environments.
“By broadcasting our own sleep deprivation, we encourage other students to follow our footsteps.”
On social media, we see a lot of videos about people who drink four cups of coffee to finish an essay that they have due the next day.
Regardless of why they didn’t do the essay until that moment, it comes across that we can all be that productive if we just stay up a few more hours!
By broadcasting our own sleep deprivation, we encourage other students to follow our footsteps.
Academic pressure is ‘real’
In academia, it’s the workload pressure that gets us.
I asked some friends of mine enrolled in engineering what their experiences were like, and many of these stories involved hours of lectures to watch before classes started, assignments and tests packed into just one week and weighing their grades on only a few questions, which only adds to the pressure.
It is not just social media pushing this idea that personal time should be non-existent, it’s our workload and the environment we are placed in on campus — not to the fault of anyone, but academic pressure is real and is worth mentioning.
This is not an exposé against professors or departments that are notorious for their workloads, this is me trying to tell you all that it is not just our phones which mess with our sleep schedules (although that is a factor that is worth including), it is the amount of work we’re given as well as societal expectations that we unintentionally perpetuate.
It’s hard to escape this cycle when we hardly realize we’re existing within it.
“The necessary reminder and disclaimer for any stressed out student reading this: Take a deep breath.”
We all know we need more sleep and need to practise self-care.
However, a lot of us cannot afford to get eight hours of sleep without falling behind on the work we are demanded to stay on top of at the risk of our own mental health.
Is procrastination definitely a factor in this discussion? Absolutely, I am not one to exclude it.
However, this article is about identifying factors that encourage the mindset of 24/7 productivity and trying to explain why it’s hard to kick.
Take care of yourselves
Anyways. The necessary reminder and disclaimer for any stressed out student reading this: Take a deep breath.
You have plenty of time, although I know it doesn’t feel like it.
I know you’re probably freaking out and gearing up for an all-nighter for this course or that. But please, be careful.
Drink some water if you’re going to stay up late, and make sure you’re eating properly.
It will be okay, you will be okay, and I hope your stress eases soon.