Study and rest

By Joshua Corcuera

Students grew up in an environment where they were told to do one thing while they still enjoy their youth: study, study, study.

This is especially true among pupils, or those who are still in grade school or elementary. Teachers and parents alike, in general, have told their students and children, respectively, that the reason they go to school is to learn. Hence, the need for them to dedicate a lot of their time studying by listening attentively to their teachers or reading books and answering assignments.

Obviously, this is correct. The primary reason why learners go to school is to learn. This is true for students of all ages, whether kindergarten and elementary pupils or high school and college students.

However, in high school, and even grade school, it is common for us to see that there are some students who tend to be carefree and do stuff that teachers do not like, from playing to not focusing on studies, and so on.

In fact, high school life has been portrayed and stereotyped in popular culture as the stage where many teenagers become rebellious. At this stage, educators are challenged to make sure that their students concentrate on their academics—which is understandable though.

However, I would shift away and move upward to the university level—specifically the undergraduate level, the stage where students are taking degree programs that generally last for four years. By the time I entered college, I observed a very different environment, one that is in stark contrast with high school.

In high school, the library is empty most of the time. There were students only when the teacher brought them there for an activity. In contrast, university libraries tend to be full of college students virtually all the time, even when it is not ‘hell week’. Moreover, college students appear to be more mature and more responsible already which makes sense given their age which is already borderline with young adulthood.

One issue, though, that commonly emerged among universities in recent years is the mental health of students. This is also becoming a concern already to those still in high school, though it remains more pervasive among university students.

Commonly heard issues regarding mental health involve negative well-being due to a lack of sleep and rest, stress due to heavy responsibilities, and anxiety due to academics and possible failure. Although universities are taking action by investing in guidance services and being open to dialogue to students who need help, more work needs to be done.

From here, I would argue that it is important for educators to tell students two things: (1) study and (2) rest. To me, rest is very important for learners to function well and study effectively. Personally, telling students to only study all the time is burdensome and stressful to the point that it may affect the other aspects of a student’s life such as his/her mental health, physical health, and social life.

For instance, when a student is about to take a quiz or an exam very soon—and by very soon we mean in a span of just a few days—that student is most probably cramming and is reading all notes in his/her possession. Aside from that, the same student would probably search for online materials as well, look for relevant books in the library, or watch video lectures related to the topic. In short, students who are about to take an exam tend to study a lot—with some pushing themselves beyond the limit by sacrificing their sleep as they continue reading until past midnight.

Of course, being dedicated to your studies and being a responsible student is very good and must be emulated by other students. Definitely, it is better to see students being hardworking individuals instead of being lazy ones. We all know that laziness leads to nothing, and in the case of students, being lazy means a dark or unclear future.

But this must not come at the expense of one’s overall well-being. The health of a student must not be compromised; rather, academics and well-being must be balanced. Thus, there is a need to emphasize holistic development among the youth. That is to help them grow not only academically, but also physically, socially, and mentally.

Overall, students must remain responsible with their studies, but it is important to study reasonably and responsibly. At the same time, students should take good care of themselves, their overall well-being, including their mental health, social connections, and physical shape. While academics are very important and must be paid attention to, there is also much more to life than studies alone.