September 17, 2021 | OPINION | By Andrew Hoffman | Photo by Maren Greene
Normally when I find myself writing for the Opinion Section, I am motivated to write about socio-political conflicts with stakes that will shape the wellbeing of everyday people. The world is incredibly messed up, and simply using whatever platform I can to speak my mind on these issues helps me feel, in a small way, that I have a bit of power to fight the good fight.
But as I’ve gotten further into my Colorado College career, and as I set my goals higher, I feel the silk-like strings of burnout encircling me. Stress and exhaustion seem to surround me, and when I consider CC’s prestige and especially intensive academic schedule, I realize that the precarious positioning of my mental health is not an uncommon phenomenon.
In our school, filled with just over two thousand people and a plethora of passions, I can’t help but notice an alarming trend of students burning out. So, I would like to put out a reminder to my fellow classmates about the value of a break. We all need to rest and recharge. You cannot accomplish anything when you are at the end of your rope, so please remember there is no shame in a little respite.
With our first of many “fourth week final grinds” coming up, this simple reminder might seem a bit standard, but this particular block’s timing has particular significance. This month is Suicide Prevention Month, and with approximately 10% of college students seriously considering suicide in the past twelve months, concern for one another is not unwarranted. Global and national issues are incredibly pressing and valid, however, it is just as important to remember that there are many serious issues in our personal lives as well.
Now, I can recommend a wide variety of mental health advice and resources: the value of journaling to yourself, the suicide hotline, the counseling center number. While these tools are incredibly helpful, I believe that balanced mental health is a little more nuanced than a couple of activities to check off in your head. Mental health is about developing a loving and healthy relationship with yourself.
I personally can acknowledge and attest to my struggles with mental health. They were not, and are not, easy. However, one of the wonderful gifts that I’ve developed from those struggles is my deep belief in the value of fun. So, while we all might be beginning to feel the webs of stress beginning to ensnare us, remember to have fun. We are all here for however long we have, so let’s cherish our good moments and laugh with our bad ones.
It is about knowing and appreciating your limits and learning when it is a good time to challenge them. There is not a set and objective path to balance, and self-actualization is a dream that we might spend our entire lives fighting for, and all that is okay. So please, for this upcoming year, remember that you are loved, and be kind to one another.
So yes, normally when I am writing for The Catalyst Opinion Section, it is doom and gloom, and that work will likely never be finished. But as recent news shows that our future work as global citizens is growing harder and heavier, let’s all remember to relax and smile for a bit, because it truly is a pleasure to simply be alive.