Paying attention to your needs is a good thing after all.

Studious overachievers like myself are probably taking the week or months before classes at CSULB to prepare. This might include buying more notebooks and pens than necessary, having all of their textbooks marked and ready to go, emailing professors with questions or meticulously planning every detail of their semester schedule.

It’s sick; I get it.

What many students are forgetting, whether in their planners or in their nebulous mental checklists, are times dedicated to self-care. This concept has more recently been accepted by us millennial “snowflakes” (we’ll get to that in a bit), and is concerned with identifying one’s own needs and taking the necessary steps to meet them. It’s kind of like “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” 2017 edition.

When starting college, this might seem like an understandable concept. If hunger falls upon you, you eat. If fatigue falls upon you, you sleep.

But it goes a bit further than that.

First-year students are more prone to getting sucked up into the turbulent university life vortex. Professors don’t appear to be as invested in individual attention as high school teachers, classes aren’t filled with the same 20 people, the temptation to eat at the Nugget everyday is never-ending  —  and everyone is expecting freshmen to act like adults. The stakes are high. Freshmen can start developing weight gain, procrastination traits and addictive substance habits. On top of that, they can start losing money, a concrete sense of entitlement and brilliance, and their cars, which could be in any of the 12 student parking lots on campus.

The same goes for college students of all grade levels, too. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “30% of college students reported that stress had negatively affected their academic performance,” and “85%… reported they had felt overwhelmed by everything they had to do at some point within the last year.” I’m sure for a plethora of graduating students like myself, this speaks volumes. We’ve faced years of balancing work and classes and eating and sleeping and exercising and spending time with friends and family. It gets overwhelming.

It shouldn’t be overwhelming to the point, however, that students are convinced that feeling overwhelmed is going to prevent them from completing their education. That’s like someone saying, “Oh dear. I’ve broken my mug. I can never drink coffee again.” It’s important to take steps toward self-improvement for the things that are bothering you. One of the benefits of this movement of promoting self-care is that its recent uprising via the Internet gives students access to a multitude of self-care practices. It can be barring yourself from social media, stretching, taking a walk, or writing a letter to yourself on what you did well on a particular day. It should be something that you don’t just do when you’re ready to fall apart at the seams, but every day.

Dedicating time to yourself everyday might seem taboo, especially when our generation is expected to be content with working our little college legs off for professors, employers, etc. only to land in a very unpredictable job market. Tim Gurner, millionaire and property mogul, is convinced that millennials are dedicating too much time to themselves and agrees with “Time” writer Joel Stein — that millennials are narcissistic and fame-obsessed. Our generation is also too sensitive and already over indulged in emotions; The Sun writer Corinne Redfern summarizes the millennials as “Generation Snowflake, the none-too-flattering nickname for today’s young people, thanks to their emotional – and often dramatic – reactions to global news and social issues.”

It’d be simple to see the negative side of this increase in self-improvement. There will always be arguments against college students’ spending and social media habits. For many students, the idea of caring for oneself makes them feel selfish. They should be applying for grad schools, research programs or career-related internships. They shouldn’t replace that for taking a hot shower in the middle of the day.

From this, though, students should be proud that they’re acknowledging that college causes a lot of suffering at an individual level, and they want to pick out methods on how to deal with it.

Self-care allows people to realize that they’re — surprise — human. Whether they’re in or out of school, they will deal with some existential dread at some point in their lives and will have to join the conversation on how to deal with it. Those who promote self-care are admitting that they’re imperfect, which is a huge deal for first-year students who come from being the top of their classes to one of the 38,000 other talented individuals who roam CSULB.

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