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The internal, academic war

Tireless nights, dark circles forming under the eyes and a constant feeling of anxiousness are just three things that creep their way into mine and many other college students' lives while trying to migrate through the terrors of earning a degree. 

The copious amounts of coursework and constant demand to write discussion board after discussion board doesn’t help students thrive, it helps them fight to survive. As students, we’re in a battle with due dates and letter grades and through that gory fight, we lose ourselves and our ambition to learn.

This is why Seton Hall and other universities need to allow students two excused mental health days in support of faculty and students. This mandated mental health excuse can be utilized twice by students in each of their classes, which reassures students that their grades won’t be affected if their mental health isn’t the best on that weekday. This potential rule would break down the stigma around mental health for many and raise awareness for inclusion and basic self-care. 

Mental health has become a serious issue in the United States, and we need to acknowledge the lack of care for peoples, especially students, internal battles. According to the CDC, suicide rates have increased by 4% from 2020 to 2021. The percent may seem small but put into numbers that’s 45,979 suicides in 2020 and 47,646 in 2021, and it’s only going up from there. 

Even more specific, the age with the highest suicide rates are high schoolers and college students. Suicide and neglecting mental problems has become so normalized that the government is exchanging children’s names for numbers and statistics. The CDC reported a 7% increase from the suicide rates in 2020 compared to 2021. That’s 6,062 young adults in 2020 and 6,468 in 2021 that believed their life wasn’t worth living. 

I’ve seen and dealt with academic burnout and the desire to do absolutely nothing but rot in bed all day, but also suffering constant anxiety knowing if I don’t study for this upcoming test I might not pass the $3,500 class I paid to attend. 

I wake up almost every other day to learn my roommate had a panic attack in the middle of the night because she drove herself insane by thinking about her 95 anatomy slides she has to memorize. Mental health doesn’t only affect academic success but it affects sleep, confidence, relationships and mostly – the will to live. 

By having two mental health excuses to not attend class, students can practice self-care and attend school comfortably knowing that their university is right next to them supporting them in their unspoken mental battles. 

Let’s stop the suicide rates from climbing even more in the future. It’s absolutely vital for students to know that their life is just as important as the next degree earner. Academic stress creeps up and tries to destroy this perspective. Education shouldn’t be a deterrent, but a stimulant. 

Serena Davis can be reached at

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