If there’s one thing tech students love to talk about, it’s their workload.

Whether it’s bragging about how difficult their courses are to get people to see them or complaining about the interview offer they should reject; if you go to Tech, you can’t escape it.

There is no denying the rigor of the courses here at the Institute, and the majority of students are involved in many extracurricular activities, internships, research, etc.

Yet there are widespread issues with lack of sleep, lack of free time, and terrible coping mechanisms.

Is this inevitable in a school with top academics and challenging courses, or does Tech perpetuate this problem on a systemic level?

One big change I’ve experienced in my two years at Tech is a skew in my sleep schedule.

There’s such an emphasis on hyper-productivity that every waking moment feels like an opportunity to get ahead with homework and studying.

So why not stay up a bit later to maximize viable working time?

With this ideology running through my mind, the time I go to sleep has been slowly pushed further and further from 11:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.

I am not the only one to have experienced this phenomenon. The pressure to succeed is intense, especially in a school where all of your peers are extremely smart and accomplished.

It’s hard to focus on anything else when everyone around you is always “on the boil”.

At Tech, every student is required to have a narrow view when it comes to academics, and especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, many students have seen their mental health deteriorate.

The transition from online to in-person classes has been abrupt for many, with lesson formats changing and more exams returning to closed grades and in-person.

Armed with this knowledge, Tech and his administration have done very little to combat these problems.

For example, in the spring of 2021, instead of having a full week of spring break, students had two non-consecutive “vacations” in the middle of two separate weeks (and no, Sting Break didn’t cure my exhaustion) .

They weren’t even three-day weekends, and the majority of the students spent that time catching up on work or finishing projects for class since it was mid-week anyway.

Unsurprisingly, many peers felt extremely exhausted and overwhelmed as we had no breaks for the entire semester.

Notably, a similar problem arose with the doctorate. and other graduate students.

After more than a year of limited access to the lab, when they could fully return, the Ph.D. students had to deliver their normal content and hugely compensate for lost time.

This resulted in extreme working hours, at least 14-16 hours a day for many, and dire mental health.

Following the suicides of three Ph.D. students across the country, Tech took “action” by ordering a Ph.D. students to take a break for a week.

However, the expectations and requirements were always the same.

There were no additional mental health resources or a way to connect with students to see how they could be helped administratively.

It just goes to show how little Tech cares about the mental health of its students, and it has only one result: terrible coping mechanisms.

Whether it’s drinking your Thursday-Saturday night sorrows (Rick Sanchez style) or hiding and isolating themselves while watching TV, tech students have abysmal coping mechanisms.

Sure, there’s nothing wrong with letting loose, but many students use it as a way to stay sane and get through the week.

This addiction is not healthy. If you walk through the library after 1am, it’s not particularly different from 1pm, and it’s scary.

There is minimal effort to improve mental health at this school, and the effects of this can be seen in the student body.