A Balancing Act: Handling grades and stress

By Katherine Briante
December 2, 2015

Students are negatively impacted by stress from college. Creative Commons

There is no doubt that it is important to do well in your classes and get good grades, but is it worth sacrificing your mental health for? Is it really worth it staying up all night to finish that essay or cram for that test if you are not going to be able to function the next day?

There are many people who believe that one late or missing homework assignment is worth it to be able to relax and focus on your mental health. I am not one of those people.

I used to be one of those people. Back in high school, I had more assignments that were missing than not. I was always in bed by 9:30 whether my homework was finished or not. I was not that stressed but my grades definitely reflected my cavalier attitude towards my schoolwork.

When I came to Cabrini, I was determined to do better and bring my GPA up. I began doing all of my homework no matter what. I was up until all hours finishing papers and projects. I started doing all of the readings and every single assignment I had and sure enough my grades went up, but so did my stress level.

I stopped getting the proper amount of sleep, I started breaking out and my hair even started falling out. I was at the complete opposite end of the spectrum I was not any better off.

I do everything in extremes, and I seem to be either very stressed and doing well in my classes or totally relaxed and not doing well at all.

Of the two I would prefer to have good grades any day just because I am one of those people who likes concrete results that I can show people. Good mental health is more of an abstract concept to me and frankly, I do not have time for abstract. I am well aware that that is an unhealthy outlook on life and that my mental health is something I should be much more concerned with, but it is just how I happen to be wired.

It is something that I actively work on everyday and it has been difficult. It is very easy to throw yourself to one extreme or the other, but it is harder to find a middle ground.

So stay up until midnight to finish that paper but make sure that you get at least a few hours of sleep. Work the whole day to finish that project, but allow yourself breaks.

The most important thing to remember is that even though grades are important and that you should work hard in your classes, you will not be able to do anything in those classes if you burn yourself out.

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Katherine Briante

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