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How much schoolwork is too much?

by Brooke Robinson 

In today’s society, the societal pressure to remain productive at all times is greater than ever before. Many believe that the rate to which technology has advanced over the past few years has increased this pressure. As a direct result of the technological advancements we’ve experienced over the past few years, individuals now have access to their professional lives at most ever hour of the day. The same goes for students, who many argue are experiencing even greater pressures than those employed in the professional workforce. 

Think back to stories, movies, and articles that reflect on America pre-computerization. While it goes without saying that our society is drastically more productive today, what we have undoubtedly lost is our ability to disconnect. Through school email, blackboard, and other tech-resources students remain indirectly connected to their academics 24 hours of the day. Compared to our memories of elementary school, we as students no longer enjoy the ability to drop our back-packs and fully disconnect from our academic obligations. 

Following The University of Tampa’s recent adoption of a fully-online schooling system, the day-to-day lives of students have been greatly affected. Schooling and at-home living during this time of quarantine now coincide with one-another, making the ability to disconnect even greater. It is important that students find different ways to separate school work and at-home relaxation in order to best maintain healthy lifestyles. 

“So many of my classes are hard enough learning in person such as anatomy, but now taking it online and not being able to talk to professors makes things very tough for me and many of my classmates have agreed” said Sydney Collister, fith year senior.

While it is undeniable that the overall level value at which students have access to resources has increased, the question of “how much is too much?” remains. The line dividing relaxation and work has continued to thin over the past few years, and many worry that it will continue to do so over time. In 2009, it was announced by The American College Health Association that stress and anxiety ranked in the top four factors that affect college students’ academic performance. Researchers continue to analyze the balance of these two aspects of life, and often ponder the effects of constant productivity on human performance and health, both mental and physical.  

Candace Lohr of the Collegiate Times published Stress, anxiety important health concerns for college students, which strengthens the perceived societal correlation between stress and school work.

“Stress triggers the fight or flight response that came in good use when we were fighting prehistoric animals. For example, when faced with a saber-toothed tiger your eyes would dilate, blood flow would increase and a chemical release of adrenaline would help you to avoid being lunch. But, in the age of cars and electricity, this instinct is no longer the basis for survival. High stress rates from school or work may trigger this natural response resulting in the opposite effect. Chronic stress can lead to a lower immune system, which can increase your chances of getting sick. High stress rates are also associated with high blood pressure, high blood sugar and a multitude of other disorders. In fact, according to the American Institute of Stress, 75 to 90 percent of all visits to a family physician are related to stress” Lohr reported.

To back-step the advances that we’ve made both academically and technologically would be illogical. Instead, we as students must acknowledge the risks associated with over-working, and find ways to mitigate them.

Brooke Robinson can be reached at brooke.robinson@spartans.ut.edu

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