Sep 20, 2019

Are students overworking themselves?

Fresno State students who carry extra units in addition to working full or part-time jobs are found in almost every class.

Students juggle classes, homework, jobs, sports, clubs, gym workouts, significant others, and a slew of additional activities. They dash from one responsibility to the next, often studying well past midnight, keeping a schedule that promises them everything but sleep.

Kinesiology major Nelly Torres carried a 21-unit load during the fall semester, occasionally studying until 2 a.m. and then getting up at 6:30 a.m. in order to be on time for her 8 a.m. class.

Torres, who also has a part-time job, said “Starbucks’ Double Shots and 20-ounce bottles of Diet Coke” helped fuel her through the long days. She is taking 17 units this semester.

Students who burn the candle at both ends often depend on caffeine to keep them going. Starbucks on the second floor of the Madden Library is a very popular destination, and that cup of coffee can provide students with the shot in the arm they need to make it through the long day ahead. Energy drinks and caffeinated sodas are common alternatives, especially when the weather turns warm.

Merilee Jones, former dean of admissions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, recently said students today are “the most anxious, sleep-deprived, steeped-in-stress, judged, tested and poorly nourished generation.”

Ryan Watts took 18 units a few semesters back and may have to do it again soon. But the political science major said he isn’t looking forward to it.

“I didn’t do as well when I had that many units,” Watts said.

“One extra class might be OK,” animal science major Suzanne Ronshausen said, adding that she had “taken as many as 20 units” during one semester.

“I wish I hadn’t,” Ronshausen said, explaining that along with attending classes and studying, she also works and pays rent.

Students who find themselves overburdened to the point where their grades begin to suffer have been able to lighten the load by putting their priorities in order. Doing little things like learning how to say “no” and not answering the phone when they have to study for the next day’s exam might strain a few friendships while at the same time saving their academic lives.

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