What is a healthy school-life balance?

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In recent years, mental health has become a major topic of conversation in our society. Mental health has increasingly become an important factor in what constitutes a healthy lifestyle, and we have the pandemic to thank for that.

When the pandemic hit schools across the country in 2020, universities started to switch to remote learning, also known as online schooling. 

This new form of schooling proved to have some growing pains with professors having to learn a new teaching style and some students not always having access to reliable WiFi. However, it did bring up the topic of what a healthy work-life balance should look like. 

Students are expected to commute to school if they are not already living on campus, according to the typical college routine that has been in place for several years. They then go to their classes, which if they’re full-time, is at least four classes. 

These classes are sometimes back-to-back, or can be multiple hours apart, leaving students stuck on campus in the meantime. Repeat that a few more times a week and it leaves little to no room to relax or prepare for the next day.

Most students who attend UNLV have jobs, sometimes not located on campus. It’s no secret many college students aren’t rich, so when they spend about eight hours a day, four times a week at school, acquiring a “well-paying” job is a hard task. This leads students to even take up another job, making their weekend jam-packed. 

Continuing to partake in this hectic routine leads to students feeling burnt out, something they may experience frequently that leads to poor performance, both in an academic sense and in general functionality.

Going through burnout is tough on a student and knowing there won’t be a day to catch their breath until the next major holiday is depressing and unmotivating. Students might become burned out not only from constant labor, but also from the energy of other students and professors as a result of participating in class discussions or working on group projects. 

Some students even resort to drugs, specifically Adderall, to avoid burnout. According to the American Addiction Centers’ website, “Innocently enough, the main cause for Adderall abuse is linked to academics. Students claim the drug helps them focus when they are staying up late studying.” 

Students also tend to use this drug when attending a party just to have some sort of energy to hold a conversation with others. After all, if you’re in college, you certainly do not want to skip out on a party in fear of not having a social life.

What can we do to move to a healthier balance now? A simple answer is to offer the option of more online alternatives for the in-person seminars offered at the university.

Having the ability to do all your classes in the comfort of any place you want as well as at any time you want, makes life easier. Students who normally commute to campus by car were able to save on gas as well as the overpriced parking passes UNLV offers. They were also able to work at their own pace, get school work done faster and even with more accuracy after having fewer distractions. 

Having the option of either going to class one day or not shouldn’t leave the student feeling anxious about missing out on a day or even dreading going to class either. Sometimes we just want to stay in bed and take it easy that day. 

Not everyone will want to do online school and that’s perfectly fine. Nonetheless, this should be an option, as students who have skipped classes for a mental health day would find it comforting to not be penalized when they had completed their work. 

The pandemic, although it caused many disruptions in people’s daily lives and exposed failed systems, did bring a newfound appreciation for mental health. Life is short. A tomorrow is not guaranteed, so why spend it constantly stressed and burnt out? As a student at UNLV, I believe we deserve a healthy school-life balance.

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