What going to Cal can feel like.

What going to Cal can feel like.

Sometimes we get a little psycho during stressful times in college. We find ourselves doing crazy things like staying up all night studying, or waking up with our heads on our desks. While that regretted crick in your neck will even itself out eventually, you might want to take a closer look at yourself if your bad study habits have forced you to trade your ID lanyard for a neck brace.

Here are ten signs that getting that perfect GPA might be more trouble than it’s worth:

1. The milk in your fridge isn’t for cereal, it’s coffee creamer. (Breakfast? What’s that?)

2. Actually, scratch that – Red Bull: Breakfast of champions.

3. Someone tells you your mascara is running. Turns out they’re talking about the permanent dark circles under your eyes.

4. You’ve re-read three textbooks to pass your history class, and still get a B.

5. You consider dropping out because of that B.

6. Your latte budget is larger than your grocery budget.

7. You have to remind yourself that Adderall is not a vitamin.

8. You bring your homework everywhere: to funerals, trips to the emergency room, and your older sister’s wedding. (So what if you’re a bridesmaid?)

9. Your study neck pillow gets more use than the one on your bed.

10. Your coffee mug has grown larger than your lunchbox.

If you’re the “no pain, no gain” type (and let’s face it, most of us are), just be sure you learn how to set boundaries for yourself and set aside time for rest. You might be mentally giving this article the finger while nursing your third Rockstar, but consider this: Studies have actually shown that employees who take regular vacations are overall more productive than their workaholic counterparts. Work can become an addiction, and it may seem counterintuitive to rest without feeling a pang of overachiever guilt.

But, you might think of rest as part of work itself – when you sleep, you’re actively processing or “working out” problems in your brain that you could not ordinarily do in your waking, conscious hours. Ever wonder why it’s good to “sleep on it” before a big decision, or tackling a problem you feel ambivalent about? The reason you feel more certain about your thoughts in the morning is not simply because you’re more rested, but because your subconscious has gone over and analyzed the particulars of a demanding task while you were dreaming. And during sleep, your short-term memory converts to long-term memory, which is necessary for consistent future recall of knowledge.

Sleep aside, it’s easy to find other parts of our lives suffering as a result of overwhelming work. We all have spent a week or two living off of rice and candy bars due to an exam crunch, but phases shouldn’t turn into full-blown habits. Feeling too tired to shower, get regular exercise, eat well, and enjoy social contact might mean you’re headed for disaster.

Take it from us – your adrenal glands have a limited capacity, and self-care is one of the greatest investments a college student can make. Work on that work-life balance!


Image sources: Guudmorning! and bottled_void under Creative Commons.


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