Recently, there has been much conversation around campus about mental health at Tech. These discussions often center around the availability of resources on campus. While we agree that mental health resources are incredibly important and should be made accessible to all students, we also believe that the current mental health conversation should be expanded to include what everyone at Tech can do to help improve campus culture.
In many ways, Tech is an institution like no other. While the constant pressure has led to job offers and research grants, it cannot be denied that it has also led to large amounts of stress, anxiety and depression.
Classes, and by extension faculty, can be a main contributor to stress at Tech. While we understand the immense pressure faculty are under to succeed in their fields, it can feel like research is placed before teaching. Stories of classes with steep curves, failing average grades or unreasonable homework expectations are not unheard of, but commonplace.
The way current discussions about mental health are conducted can cause students to fall into a “me versus Tech” mentality.
Furthermore, we believe that mental health should be discussed on campus openly throughout the year, to current and prospective students. Students should come into Tech prepared for the challenges they will face and comfortable discussing stress and its effects on campus life.
Finally, students also have a part to play in changing campus culture. Currently, we praise each other for our all-nighters and 18 hour days, and laugh at those who eat regularly or have time to take a break. This is a terribly flawed mentality and it needs to change.
We need to reestablish the importance of self-care on campus and we need to do it soon. Together, the administration, faculty and students can make Tech not only a great academic institution but also a great place to live.