No thesis is worth your sanity

by Kaitlyn Sparks

There is a test tomorrow. It looms in front of you. Nothing exists but the slides containing the information that surely should be in your brain by now. Your research write-up is due next week. You can’t bear to think about that right now. Assignment deadlines accumulate like neutrophils around you. All there is to do is to try not to be engulphed.

Unfortunately, the line between coping and not coping is a thin one. A line that undulates and shifts with every passing hour. One moment you can be doing well, and the next, a small task can feel impossible.

Often, at this level of academia, our self-worth is intimately linked to our success in classes and research. From the first time we set foot in primary school, we are often taught that academics are at the top of the priority list. Even if we are told that other things are more important, there are many non-verbal signals that imply the opposite.

In addition to this, getting to, and staying in, university is not easy. Many sacrifices are made, not just by us but by the people we care about. The pressure that comes with this is immense. Often, we can feel like we are representing the hopes and dreams of everyone around us. Thus, when things start to slip in this and other areas of our lives, it can feel like the whole world is ending.

Unfortunately, not many people speak about how difficult it is to maintain your mental health while in university. It has become better in recent years, yes, but it is far from being an open topic. That is why I am writing this piece: in the hopes that it will spark an open discussion in the academic space.

It should not be controversial to say that your mental health should come before your academics.

No grade is worth your mental health.

No thesis is worth your sanity.

No degree is worth your life.

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