By Amani Dobson || Layout Assistant
It’s Friday night. You’re at a party dancing and having fun, and all of a sudden a thought crosses your mind: “I have a paper due tomorrow that I haven’t started”. You are immediately drenched in worry and panic. It’s past midnight, and there’s no way you can start it now. You have to wait for your friends to leave with you anyways. For the rest of the party, you’re stressed. Your dance moves become a bit more stiff and your carefree smile from a few minutes ago shifts into a frown causing your forehead to wrinkle quite a bit. Your night out just turned awfully sour.
College is time consuming. Between classes, electives, and work study for some, it can be difficult to fit in time for yourself. Students often look forward to the weekends because they want to finally let loose, but it does not always work out that way. The single greatest flaw in the structure of college life is the lack of delayed gratification. Delayed gratification is the ability to put off something that is fun or pleasing right now in order to gain something more fun or pleasing later on. Take the famous marshmallow test. Children were told to avoid eating one marshmallow in order to get the ability to eat more marshmallows later on. College can be just like this. Going to a party on a Friday night could be fun, but not if you don’t have any of your homework done. The entire night and the following day could be a rush hour of thoughts and stressors bouncing around your head. Instead, you could stay home Friday, finish that assignment, and go out on Saturday. That way you’ll truly be able to let loose without thoughts of assignments lingering over you like the grim reaper.
It’s definitely important to give yourself time for leisure activities, which is why college students especially should dedicate more time to organizing their days. Instead of going to sleep after class or going out, try to use the momentum your brain still has to just crank out your homework for the following day. Really sitting down and doing exactly what needs to be done can make your relaxation time that much sweeter. It can be tough to gather that energy after class, but think about it this way: if you wait you’ll probably end up staying awake very late to rush and finish assignments causing you to be tired the next day. The cycle of procrastination will only repeat itself and your leisure time will never be completely luxuriate. Everyone deserves to nap, to go out and party, and to get time for themselves. However, with the amount of activities going on in college, it is difficult to get that time without risking losing sleep later on or being stressed while having a “day off” unless you exercise delayed gratification. Make the hard decision to actually spend time early in the day doing homework so that during the weekend or even in the evening you can truly kick back and relax with no intruding thoughts ruining your time.
There are so many great leisure activities you can indulge in once you’re free of other stressors. Reread one of your favorite books, do a face mask, dance in your room, or even sleep. Though college can be a great experience, it can also have negative impacts on your mental health if you do not take care of yourself. Overloading yourself with last minute assignments can develop serious stress related issues. According to the National Sleep Foundation, those who are under a considerable amount of stress can find themselves with insomnia or sleep deprivation. Those two things could then impact your immune system.
Overall, it is important to make sure you structure your day in productive ways to maximize your leisure time and stay mentally healthy throughout college.
First-year Amani Dobson is a Layout Assistant. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.