Issue of the Semester: Struggling for the Grades...

The Price of Success: Your Health

By Kelly Burch '11 Staff Writer

An alarming number of Scripps students seem to be forsaking their health to secure a good grade. At the end of last semester, a close friend and I were talking about our days when I noticed a gash on her knee. I asked how she got it and she said she had pulled an all-nighter to finish an essay, and the next morning, after no sleep, she walked to class. On the way, she fainted and cut her knee when she fell. After she woke up she went to class and continued with her days as usual. A few years ago, another friend fainted in class during an important presentation and hit her head when she fell. Of course, being a Scrippsie, she stayed for the remainder of the class and even finished her presentation before going to the health center.

I researched this topic for a class project and found that female students are more likely than male students to neglect their health to finish schoolwork. Women also tend to put more pressure on themselves and each other in an academic setting than men do, so it is easy to see why this problem would be particularly apparent at a women’s college.  Where is this pressure coming from that drives women to value academic success above health?

After taking a health psychology class (and from personal experience) I have learned how extremely important sleep and relaxation are to one’s health; they are not something to be tampered with. Sleep deprivation and stress can lead to a number of illnesses and it doesn’t take a health psychologist to understand how lack of sleep can detract from quality of life.

I don't believe that this is normal in the "real world." In the show “Lipstick Jungle,” one of the characters faints at work. She is seen as an overachiever and after she faints she wants to go back to work after she wakes up—just like my Scripps friends. However, her boss insists on calling 911 and after being carried out on a stretcher, the doctor makes her go home because she needs rest. I wish there had been a doctor to tell my friend to go home and rest the day that she fainted, because when I expressed my concern she merely shrugged it off. I have pulled my own fair share of all-nighters and I understand the need to be get good grades. But now my new year’s resolution is to schedule in more time to sleep and relax. Of course it is important to do well in school, and if you go to Scripps you already know this. However, I think there is something to be said for living a well-balanced life, and I for one am going to make it a top priority to get my beauty-rest.