Stress culture at universities
"Once I start going to university, I'll become super active."
This resolution may seem familiar to some of us who rarely participated in activities outside the classroom. We thought university life would be the meaning we were looking for, handing us solutions to our problems on a silver platter. Unfortunately, as we may have soon found out, things don't usually pan out like that.
From being purely focused on academics to taking up ten jobs at a time — the motivation quickly takes an overwhelming turn, leaving us exhausted at the end of the day. Often, we struggle to juggle all the activities on our list. At some point, we begin to question our enthusiasm for such an experience.
"I didn't get much chance to participate in extracurricular activities at high school. So, I wanted to have eclectic experiences at University," says Nibedita Paul, a freshman in Military Institute of Science Technology.
However, she experienced burnout trying to balance exams and activities. "When I tried to engage myself in activities, I struggled with studies. It was really difficult," she adds.
At the same time, the presence of hustle culture at institutions make us feel as if our worth is singularly tied to the work we do, thus making it impossible to leave jobs that may exhaust us.
"I'm tutoring four students, volunteering in an organisation in order to learn photography, videography and editing among other skills," says Mehrin Tazin, a freshman at IBA, University of Dhaka. "However, I now understand that I've taken too many things in my hand without realizing."
She adds, "I haven't stopped doing any of these activities. Instead, I break the task into small pieces."
Even people who were involved with extracurricular activities at school seem to struggle. That may be due to the differing nature of activities we do at school and university. Participating in extra-curricular activities at universities is often especially difficult due to the added pressure of preparing for jobs while also maintaining a good CGPA.
We are living in a time when everyone is an overachiever. Those who focused on academics at school and dreamt of being an overachiever who simply did more with their time, often find themselves exhausted by this ordeal. Thus, it is important to take a break sometimes.
Taking a break from activities doesn't mean leaving them forever. One can always come back when they feel ready. It is also important to understand that leaving the things one may have once loved to do, doesn't make them a careless underachiever. Sitting down to watch a movie or completing a reading challenge does not make one lazy. The time has come for us to normalize taking breaks, at least for the ones who are to follow us.
Sabiba is a Hufflepuff who plans to go into hibernation every winter but never succeeds. Send help at fb.com/Sabibastro