Updated: Jan 9
Sheridan Stevenson, Graduate from Stanford University
Especially in high school and college, I’ve seen academic pressure take a significant toll on mental health of both myself and my peers. In high school, it was often right before a big test or essay was due and I was devoting more time to studying while trying to keep up with all the other activities in my life. In college, the academic pressure was more constant but still spiked during midterms and finals.
The biggest factors I observed in myself, and my friends was that our individual mental states often became worse when we weren’t sleeping enough, usually because we were studying late, weren’t eating well (either skipping meals to study or eating junk food in response to stress), and when we would neglect to move enough throughout the day. With that in mind, the best ways I saw people coping with this academic pressure was to maintain a consistent sleep schedule and not pull all-nighters, focus on eating enough well-round meals each day, and doing their best to get up and move. For me, these all helped but one thing I incorporated that significantly helped was to take myself on a 10–15-minute walk outside after every two(ish) hours of studying or working in one place. It was also important for me to still prioritize being social and seeing my friends which led to many groups study parties! It seemed to take some of the stress off when we were all working in one place, together, regardless of whether or not it was even for the same class. I think it's important to understand that academic pressure has a very real impact on mental health and can begin to take a toll when the studying and homework are not balanced with other activities to keep us healthy and happy!