Throughout the year and especially during the summer, I tend to reflect a lot about who I am and what kind of person I am. I also begin to think about experiences from the year so far. Over the course of this past week, I must say, I began to think and even talked with a few friends about what it is like being a full time teacher and a full time student (yes I am both)! It is not an easy task! For those who are educators know that just because we are not at school does not mean our job stops! It is never ending! But being a graduate student on top of that adds another level of complexity.
I cannot tell you the number of hours I have stayed up this year to complete assignments. There have been many times I have gone to bed at 2 and 3 in the morning and have gotten up at between 5 and 5:45 AM to be to work by 6:30 AM because of assignments for graduate school and still doing work for my classroom. Time management is key; however, some tasks require a lot of time! Also those who are educators know that last minute tasks on the job occur frequently so that adds to the pressure.
I am glad I have had a chance to relax this summer; however, in about a month's time from tomorrow, I will be a full time student again. Thinking about the amount of work though (I am grateful I am learning and even more grateful to have school paid for without coming out of pocket), I cannot help but think are colleges promoting healthy habits? We know that we need anywhere from 6 to 8 hours of sleep and many times students are getting less than that.
We also know that colleges can be stressful. The workload, the balance of school work and a life, and even funding for school are some of the factors that can cause stress for students. My girlfriend currently is a full time student working on her Master of Accountancy (who will graduate in less than a week of this post, congrats!). There have been countless times, though I know she has mentioned how she and others in her program are stressed for various reasons! Because of the stress and workload, it causes tension for some to the point of nervous breakdowns.
While at NCORE (the conference mentioned earlier), I noticed how many undergraduate students said they stayed up and pulled all nighters for classes that had significant assignments/assessments! I also know of students in undergraduate and graduate school who have found other means to help them stay awake and alert to focus including Red Bull and 5 Hour Energy drinks! We have heard of some students causing their body physical harm when they feel like they have failed at school. With these concerns as well as the ones listed in previous paragraphs, we know that these stressors and practices can be detrimental to our health.
Ultimately, my question is, are colleges are promoting healthy habits? I honestly do not feel they do! Yes time management is key; however, time management only works to an extent! And while resources may seem available to undergraduate and graduate students to help cope with issues they are facing, they are not always readily available. Now the question becomes, what more can colleges do to help students with succeeding without cause unhealthy living patterns? Less work? Longer semesters? Less classes? More constant support? While college is suppose to be a place in which a person is suppose to learn, are we learning subconsciously practices that are not good for us?