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The GW Hatchet

AN INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER SERVING THE GW COMMUNITY SINCE 1904

The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Perspective: Don’t lose sight of your well-being to excel in school

After countless over-caffeinated nights throughout finals season, nothing was more satisfying than submitting my last final paper and closing the 20 browser tabs open on my laptop. But before I could celebrate my completion of the academic year, I got sick. The sleepless nights and skipped meals had finally caught up with me. Grades matter but not at the expense of one’s health.

For many college students, school takes precedent over personal matters. For those who must maintain a certain GPA to maintain scholarships, work multiple jobs or juggle extracurricular activities, its a growing challenge to balance academics with one’s well-being, and doing so — no matter how brutal — is a badge of honor. But the grind is all too glorified in school and online — students going to class with little to no sleep, consistently burnt out or skipping proper meals, all in the name of acing that exam or finishing that paper during finals season.

When we watch other students consistently sacrifice their health for school, it’s easy to compare their more destructive habits with your own. Sometimes I think that if I push forward to finish assignments when sick or sleep-deprived, I’ll have academic success. I feel more productive when finishing work if I’m under the weather or tired because the completion proves my unwavering dedication to school, at whatever cost.

But ultimately, your health is what gives you the best shot at a high GPA. Lack of sleep is proven to worsen students’ grades. Taking study breaks can be beneficial for one’s academic performance. Drinking water and eating certain foods can help your concentration and lead to better outcomes academically.

When one’s head is in the depths of rubrics and readings, we often forget to check in on ourselves. Instead of falling into unhealthy patterns, it’s perfectly reasonable to ask for help.

I’ve requested extensions from professors, which they’ve met with understanding and flexibility. By opening up about your workload and perspective, these conversations will often make you closer with your professors. They could dismiss students as irresponsible for their poor time management skills, but most of them are more than willing to listen — they, too, remember the chaos of being a student. Many students are trying not to overburden themselves when they ask for an extension or turn in something late, not trying to shirk from work. Requesting extensions has pushed me to exercise self-compassion and concentrate more on submitting work I’m proud of.

To maintain one’s well-being, students must place boundaries between their health and academics. This could mean accepting that you don’t have the time for another extracurricular, listening to your body when you need rest or telling professors and coworkers when you need to take a break. Being a hard worker does not justify eroding your own wellness. Getting an hour of sleep shouldn’t be the prerequisite to secure an A.

As the academic year nears an end, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the habits we’ve formed in the name of education. Sleeping, eating and relaxing should not be a rare privilege, they are necessities in order to function properly and excel in academia. As my mom would tell me, “Without health, you’re nothing; all of your dreams become extinguished.”

Andrea Mendoza-Melchor, a sophomore majoring in journalism and mass communication, is the opinions editor.

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