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Health falters during exam time

As we all know, it is midterm season. This means students are staying up later, studying harder and most likely running on late night food from True Grit’s. However, there should never be a time where students must choose between their health and studying for an exam.

Sarah Hayden, a biology major graduating in 2019, recalled a time she prioritized her studies over her health: “I have found myself forgoing getting stitches in order to have more time to study, resulting in me going to lab with a 102 degree temperature, and driving through floods to make it to class.” While academics are incredibly important, it is also important to remember that, in most cases, exams can be retaken and class notes can be reviewed.

One of the most important things students learn in college is the ability to balance all of their responsibilities. Although it can be hard, UMBC provides several outlets for students to take advantage of, including on-campus facilities and programs such as Wellness Week.

At UMBC, Oct. 17 – 19 represented Wellness Week, a week meant to focus on students to ensure that their mental, physical and emotional health is stable. This week provided activities allowing students to de-stress and remember the importance of focusing on their health.

If students are not healthy, they cannot go to class and fully participate in the discussions and lectures that are crucial to the class. Audrey Mae Padilla,  a biochemistry major graduating in 2017, shared her thoughts on prioritizing in college, saying, “There is obviously going to be stress in school to keep up with academics and to graduate with a degree, but I learned through the years that you also have to prioritize yourself.”

Students should not have to sacrifice mental, physical or emotional health to ensure good grades or an active social life. Yet, students perpetually exhibit this behavior, especially when it comes to exam time.

In a survey, 85 percent of students said that mental and physical health was more important than good grades. However, midterms still do take a hit on how much students prioritize their health.

When asked how much sleep students got when they had an exam, 56 percent said between four and five hours of sleep, 31 percent said between six and seven hours of sleep and 13 percent said eight hours or more. When asked how much sleep they got when they did not have an exam, 50 percent said four to five hours of sleep, 25 percent said six to seven hours, and another 25 percent said eight or more.

When asked whether staying up late to study is more beneficial than getting a good night’s rest, the results were an even 50/50 across the board. This only goes to show that while students feel their health is more important than good grades, they are still staying up late to study and barely sleeping before exams.

This week is supposed to be focused on yourself, so please do just that. Remember that it is okay to feel overwhelmed and/or to ask for help. There is absolutely no shame in needing help. Use this week to make sure your mental, physical and emotional health are where they should be. Remember that when it comes down to it, you are much more important than a midterm.