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Editorial: Balancing midterms and life

It is no novel idea to note that college is hard. For academic, social, personal and other reasons, college often feels like a balancing act. Now that we have passed the halfway point in the semester, which occurred last Friday, midterms can be an additional point of stress and anxiety for many students. As the many pressures that students face intensify in the last half of the semester, remembering to make time for ourselves and building a campus climate that encourages self-care and compassion are paramount.

Brown students are not alone in their anxiety. Students across the country find the college experience to be a stressful one. According to a recent national poll, half of college students feel stressed all of the time. In the same poll, about half of students reported difficulty in finding emotional support. Though Brown offers many services to aid students in need of emotional support, such as Counseling and Psychological Services and the Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life, this statistic is still troubling.

As emails, assignments and other tasks continue to pile up, we have to take time for ourselves. It is important, especially at this point in the semester, to remember to be compassionate to ourselves as individuals. There is no universal definition of self-care. It looks different for everybody. For some, it means a trip to the gym, an hour on Netflix, a walk with a close friend or participation in a favorite club or sport. For others, it’s something completely unrelated.

Regardless, identifying what helps you de-stress and making time to actually do it is an often overlooked trick to dealing with the Brown balancing act. Sometimes, it seems counterproductive: taking time for yourself when there is just very little time to spare. The good news is that on a campus as busy as Brown’s, a perusal through Morning Mail might offer some great insight into opportunities for study breaks or other ways to exercise self-care.

In other words, college students across this country and this campus need to remember to find time for themselves. We do not write to offer a prescription for the stress we experience as students. As aforementioned, each person’s stress is different and therefore merits a different response. Merely, we write to remind the community that as the academic and emotional intensity of the semester approaches new heights, we must care for one another and ourselves.

We must listen to each other’s needs as well as our own. At a point when life seems to be demanding much of us, we must also take a moment to celebrate ourselves. Whether that is a few minutes, hours or more out of our day, we must see it as an investment in our time here.

Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board: its editors, Manuel Contreras ’16 and Meghan Holloway ’16, and its members, Emma Axelrod ’18, Noah Fitzgerel ’17 and Aranshi Kumar ’17. Send comments to


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