Thursday, December 1, 2022

We All Need a Break

by Ella Vasquez | November 10, 2021

All good things must come to an end — sadly, so has our screen break. No longer are we hampered under our comforting sheets regaining the lost sleep. No more of outside civilization where we caught up with friends over the short vacation. Now, we just miss all the forms of lax and leisure, and to the hours we have dedicated to social media.  

Online distance learning became the status quo when the COVID-19 pandemic barged into our lives. After a year of acclimating to the new normal, we’ve become well-acquainted with our virtual environment. However, over time, we’ve accelerated into vicariously living and learning through screens. As the virus imposed limitations, we unknowingly created a cocoon of confinement for ourselves. Facing a glowing box, hours on end, entraps us. Suffocated under the wraps of the workload, we suffer from the induced academic pressure. 

Three lives. Three; a number too many to count for deaths related to suicide. Recently, the student body of Saint Louis University (SLU) have been finding themselves coping with the struggles of the new virtual setup. However, Rin Payno, a student of the same cluster, voices the grievances of many who are overwhelmed by the academic load. They are under a standardized program of receiving ten to 15 tasks per week, which is “too much of their time and energy”. Additionally, in the prolongment of the pandemic, suicide cases have only risen by a 25.7% increase in the previous year. A lit candle in one hand and a placard on the other; people gathered at the gates of SLU, lamenting those who have gone ahead and protesting on their behalf.

As the culture where meeting deadlines and passing requirements have overtaken the essence of true learning develops, the anticipation for identifying the world’s leading schools persists. In the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Asian University Rankings of 2022, the University of the Philippines (UP) reached the top 100 by snagging the 69th spot, which is eight spots higher than its former standing. Other institutions also held remarkable ranks with Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) at 124th; De La Salle University (DLSU) at 160th; and University of Santo Tomas (UST) at 177th. The same four strike top within the country, catapulting them to compete with the finest in the international scene.

Deemed among the best, every university’s performance is still measured on an individualistic scale with the determining metric of highest regard and academic reputation, which relies on students’ academic performance. To maintain such, the selection and admission of competent applicants is a vital step. Where universities like UP and ADMU have a cutthroat 15% acceptance rate, the prestige of acceptance also equates to an unbearable burden. Many are consumed by the demands of time and energy just to achieve goals and expectations — set by themselves or others like family. Over exhaustion impacts one’s entire wellbeing, leading to burnout or worse, anxiety and depression. 

Our screen break, albeit arguably transient, has ended, but we forget the frustrations of our fellow students who are still pleading for their own time to rest. Some requests were found rejected, but others have sadly fallen on deaf ears. Tapping out is necessary. A period of refreshment is essential in achieving productivity and success. Let us not drive ourselves to insanity and risk the lives of humanity. 

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