As you have gotten further and further into our time at Uni, have you noticed that the time we used to reserve for ourselves has dwindled too next to nothing? I know I am not the only one who often finds themselves thinking back on high school, and everything we did during it. Waking up anywhere from 6-8 A.M. going to classes until 3-4 P.M., spending the rest of the evening on extracurriculars, music lessons, sports practices, or anything we liked? Now, you have three classes, and the homework that comes with them, and we can hardly pull ourselves out of bed to do anything other than survive.
Why is this? Why is everything so exhausting? Why don’t we have hobbies anymore?
Believe me or not – it is NOT because you have gotten lazy! It’s actually the exact opposite! Even though the number of classes we do in a day is less than what we had in high school, the amount of content, information, and subsequent work that we are putting into these classes eats up much more of our time and energy than we can initially realize! Homework can take hours, and after spending all day in classes that leaves us with very little time to do anything other than getting ready for bed!
Okay, but hey, it is just classes and homework! We did all that in high school! Well, some of us also had the support of our family and friends to ease the load once we got out of school. Some of us were lucky enough to get out of practices and come home to a nice warm meal waiting for us! Something to fill our bellies and help us wind down for the night! Some of us also were not responsible for going grocery shopping and maintaining and supplying our everyday supplies. University is the first time that we have set out to fend for ourselves! After our classes, we do not get the luxury of kicking our feet back and having no worries beyond listening for a parent to come and call us down for supper. As soon as we get back to our dorms, we are now getting into a different sense of maintaining ourselves. Making food, cleaning up, eating, and probably finishing homework, or working at a job to sustain yourself while doing all this as well! Getting used to doing everything on your own is exhausting, and that feeling is not your fault!
According to a study completed by Boston University: Anxiety and Depression rates for university age students has tripled since 2020! That was only three years ago! The pressure of succeeding in our studies and maintaining our health, friendships and other commitments can lead to intense and early burnout. We have more to care about than we ever have before and if we were not previously prepared how to notice these signs, we can find ourselves corkscrewing down further and further into the hole, until the sunlight seems to just be a pinprick away.
We are not the same people we were in high school. We have sacrificed more of our time, energy, money, and effort than we ever have before. Even though these are easily recognizable, that gnawing feeling of guilt for not doing more is hard to quell. When your body is in survival mode constantly, homework, chores, and other obligations become high standing hurdles that seem impossible to muster the strength for.
If you are having any feelings of depression, anxiety, or burnout, Dakota State University offers a variety of counseling services. Reach out to your academic advisor and let them know that you are struggling. Reach out to your RA (Resident Assistant) or RHD (Residence Hall Director) to get some more information on resources around you. Taking action to help yourself is incredibly hard, but it is the best thing you can do for yourself. People do care about you; you just need to let them know that they can.
You are not lazy for not having a hobby. You are too busy surviving. That is nothing to be ashamed of.