I was once advised that while

living at college there were

three main facets of life – eating, sleeping and exercising. I was further counseled that I should try to maintain two of these. Two?

This overachiever even sees some fallacy in that statement. There is an expectation that UR students should be in a constant state of stress. If they do appear relaxed they must be slacking off or feeling sick. It is alarming that the educational system, particularly at UR, places so much value on unhealthy students. Since when does illness or exhaustion become the only excuse for a moment of relaxation?

Lately, and particularly as we approach finals, students don’t even have time for pleasantries in hallways or quick goodnights. I’m all for continual study and an intellectually stimulating environment, but when it goes to the point of intellectually de-humanizing it has gone awry.

When I get my syllabi each semester, I tend to count up the hours spent per week on each course. Remember, this is a French/Religion Major who has a much lighter workload than say, a Biomedical Engineering student. When counting my hours I discovered that I would have just enough time – if I slept four hours per night and ate one meal a day. This is frightening.

What are we saying to students when we tell them to obtain two of the three necessities in life? Academic life is not an excuse for putting the rest of your life on hold throughout the next four years.

Professors value extensively examining their course topics and illustrating the course’s application in “real” life. I whole-heartedly agree with such an educational approach – it is the essence of higher education. However, when students cannot even find the time to eat dinner, let alone apply the material of what they are learning, is something not lost in academics?

But the world of academia is just a starting ground. There is also the question of the extra-curricular craze. It seems everyone has to be involved in something, whether at Goergen or Wilson Commons. Extra activities are meant to enrich the student’s life, not merely fill them up.

If students aren’t in extra-curriculars, you are sure to find them working or traveling or taking on an independent study. It is not that any of these activities are inherently bad. Not at all. But there is a concern that they are fillers for the various holes in schedules and planners.

There is a desire on campus to be everything and obtain everything, at any cost. This is simply not feasible, and while it may be a countercultural approach, we all ought to just slow down.

Tanner can be reached at rtanner@campustimes.org.

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