A day of stress
The importance of taking time for rest and relaxation on the weekends
I grew up in a house where Sunday was a sacred day reserved for Church in the morning and inordinate amounts of food — and hopefully football — in the afternoon. Family dinner on Sunday was an indulgent affair. Siblings in different cities were Skyped. Books were read. Homework was completed. Naps were had and conversation was shared.
Deep in the Arkansan Bible Belt, people knew Sunday was a day set aside for whatever families considered most holy — usually sports and Whole Hog barbecue. While my use of religious rhetoric may seem misplaced, it is hard to overstate the reverence with which Southerners regard their Sundays — days filled with athletics, lake trips, fishing and hunting. While I, like many others, found myself more inclined to spend Sunday morning in my bed than at a deer stand, I valued the respect the weekend was given in the South.
I have since discovered college is a unique place where, quite frankly, neither day of the weekend is regarded with such respect. Showers become communal and are no longer a quiet space (I am frequently subject to over-the-sink chatter about schedules and stress and, more horrifyingly, Pandora’s top 40 pop station). Meals are eaten in dining halls with 500 of your closest friends, your clothes are as much your roommate’s as they are yours and Sundays become reserved for meetings, scheduled by every club or organization you are a part of.
Before I sound like I’m complaining, I’ll say, quite simply: I get it. I understand the reasoning for this construct in college — alleviate stress from the work week, meet on Sunday when everyone is free and prepare events for the week ahead. It makes sense to most — though students like myself truly value one free day a week to de-stress and recharge. In organizations’ desire to easily schedule meetings and lift the burden of too many meetings during the week, they inadvertently raise the stress level among college students whose lives become an incessant barrage of errands which cause unhealthy mental strain.
Before I continue, I will address the rebuttals I can hear to my argument already. “If it’s that important to you, do less!” or, “Talk to your organization chairs about skipping. I’m sure they’ll understand” or, “You can find space away to get that same well-rested feeling.” My answer is this: why must students who desire time away, be it for religious worship or mental respite, fall behind on involvements?
Every Sunday, when I want to attend church at noon, I am faced with an amalgam of meetings for which I need excuses. While this is a choice I make and I must assume responsibilities for the implications, it should not be so hard to do both. There have been multiple weekends in which I have been fined by the Inter-Sorority Council for missing mandatory meetings and many more when I have been forced to abstain from voting in organization elections which hold campaign speeches on Sunday morning. Nearly every weekend, I must send at least two excuses simply to attend church.
Yes, this is a personal scheduling conflict — one which forces me to take into account my priorities and make decisions. While I do not propose organizations at the University stop meeting on weekends, I would encourage organization leaders to make sure any meetings held on weekends not have punishments for having to skip — whether that be a fine or a forced abstention from internal affairs.
I truly believe a newfound respect for personal time on weekends will help all students find mental respite which distances them from the business of the week. This solace would give us a heightened capacity to tackle the increased density of meetings during the week as we feel more on top of personal affairs — resulting in a more balanced state of mind enabling us to ultimately be more productive in our other endeavors.
Lauren’s column runs biweekly Fridays. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.