The word ‘burnout’ is a term that is familiar to members of the academic community. After all, we, college students, eat deadlines for breakfast instead of real meals. We have acknowledged that burnout will come to us whether we like it or not — college is simply different from our younger years in the educational system.
Yet, we still find ourselves surprised by its impacts on our mental health and emotional capacity brought by intense workloads; we strive to do our best, nonetheless. So even during the Holy Week, when our rest was expected to fulfill some form of temporary escape from academic responsibilities, we still took time studying and reviewing because the upcoming midterm exams would greet us back to school.
Hence, some students found it impractical to go home (especially if they were from far-flung areas) during the week-long break and instead stayed within their dorms and boarding houses; I was one of them. And while the upcoming two-week Founding Anniversary of VSU celebration would be a great motivation for Viscans to study hard for the exams as it may allow us to unwind from the stress brought by the ‘hell week,’ that, unfortunately, might not even be the case.
Many of my colleagues have expressed their shared disappointment with this setup. Aside from the fact that it would be unsurprising to see exams conducted even during the two-week celebration because of conflicted schedules, lectures, and laboratory classes would also continue simultaneously with planned events at the forefront. This fosters the implied mentality of toxic positivity and forced mental resilience from the heavy and monotonous workloads.
There is also something to be said about how idealistic these schedules are crafted. There have been many instances where the administration has slated and changed significant event dates causing disruption and inefficiency to the academe. While given that some of these were unavoidable due to extended holidays and urgent memorandums, this is still reflected within our academic stamina of trying to keep up with what the university has in store— and that's quite tiring.
Foundation Week, being a major event that calls for a supposed 'celebration' of 99 years, is quite frankly, defeated. How can we, the students, the very reason for our university's gains and successes, have the time to celebrate its founding anniversary while spending all-nighters, repeatedly drilling the same information in our heads over and over again in hopes that we will at least get a passing grade? Our focus has been divided, and this in turn only drains us mentally, emotionally, and physically. Isn't that in opposition to what a celebration actually is?
It is not a matter of picking which of these two events is more significant than the other. The midterm examination determines half of our semestral performance, and 99 years is no small feat worthy of a grand occasion. This puts us at an inconvenience, and there is no guarantee that we could fully lend our attention to the anniversary, and believe me when I say that we really want to enjoy this momentous achievement as proud Viscans, but we can't.
The best course of action for such a dilemma is to allow us to truly rest and unwind. To enjoy and give ourselves the time to enjoy the numerous activities and visit the food stalls and booths on campus without having to cram any deadlines, exams, or lectures to push us back into a stressful environment. This suggestion may be a little too late now, but there's always the centennial celebration to look forward to, and only by then can we become a more productive version of ourselves that meets the ultimate vision of the university: of being globally competitive individuals in science, technology, and environmental conservation, which is what we have successfully achieved and will continue to strive for in the next 99 years.