by the Weekly Sillimanian | November 11, 2021
Last October 30, approximately 400 students from St. Louis University in Baguio City held a candlelight protest urging school officials to implement an academic break after the confirmation of at least three suicide cases from its student body. As mentioned in the Weekly Sillimanian’s last editorial article, academic breaks, or “screen breaks” as we like to call them, are fortunately second nature to Silliman University despite the rocky beginnings of its implementation. However, sentiments coming from students about their heavy workloads still prevail despite these resting periods. Therefore, even during regular school days, students must learn to acknowledge their mental wellbeing and take care of it.
First, countless sources support the notion that breaks between classes or study sessions can make one study smarter. According to The Wall Street Journal, 60 to 90-minute naps can be “helpful for students trying to memorize information like facts, names, and dates”. However, if you feel like moving instead, exercise can also help boost concentration and improve one’s mental health, said Dr. Holly Phillips of Princeton University. One’s mental health and productivity go hand in hand, so it is crucial not to neglect either.
Second, studying in groups helps students learn more effectively, said Dr. Keith Sawyer of the international research journal Linguistics and Education. If you are struggling to stay focused or calm, ask a friend or two to stay on a call with you for a study session. If no one is available, there are countless videos online that are meant to accompany people trying to stay focused too. Nonetheless, never be afraid or ashamed to ask for help when you need it; from your friends, family, or even teachers.
Most importantly, know that there is professional help available for you whenever you need it. Despite the pandemic, the university’s Guidance and Testing Division (GTD) continues to offer counseling services to all students in the university. GTD can also assist you in figuring out issues beyond personal ones, such as those that are academic, educational, social, or career-related. It may feel awkward or difficult to trust someone you might not be familiar with at first, but GTD is legally obligated to maintain confidentiality under general circumstances. Therefore, with them, you should be in good hands.
One might say that with deadlines coming closer one after another, taking a breather is just not an option. As students ourselves, we understand this reluctance, but if now is not the right time to slow down, when is it? Is it when one’s body can no longer physically move due to fatigue? Or worse, when one feels like there is no way out that taking one’s life seems like the only option?