There is no room for toxicity among Journalism & Communications students.
CREDIT: We Heart It
Every semester, I can expect at least one solid week where I rethink every decision I’ve made up to this point in my life. I debate changing my major, worry about my future and question who I am. As a student in the College of Journalism and Communications (CJC), I end up feeling trapped between what I know is best for me and who the school wants me to be. As I grapple with this chronic dilemma, I find myself wondering how much of my “semester scaries” are just that, and how much are the result of deep systemic toxicity cultivated among college students.
How does one stand out among their peers when they’re being forced down the same path?
It is near impossible to go through college, specifically in media-related fields, without facing the dreaded struggle that is a personal brand. How am I supposed to utilize a “professional” Twitter when I know my professor couldn’t care less about my hot takes on whatever TV show I’m obsessed with that week. CJC students are stuck between who their industry wants them to be and who they really are.
In the age of social media, we are already hyper-aware of our shortcomings. Pick up your phone and at the click of a button, we can see who landed the jobs on LinkedIn, who’s studying abroad in Paris, who is doing all the things we feel we should be doing. We forget that we are all in different chapters of our wildly successful memoirs-to-be. Competition should have no place here. However, it is difficult to avoid — especially when students are constantly reminded of the lack of jobs in their desired fields. Rivalry seems inevitable when you think about all of the CJC wanting to land the dream job and lifestyle. But therein lies the flaw. Not every student dreams of a paid fellowship at the “New York Times.” Not every student wants to have their four-year academic plan actually planned out. And not every student can fit their entire personality into a quick sales pitch, advertising their value for all the world to see and perceive them through.
Additionally, university departments must be careful as to what they are feeding their students. Burnout culture is alive — and highly contagious. According to a study conducted by the National College Health Assessment, around 80% of college students feel overwhelmed by all the things they need to do. The primary cause in students is documented to be assignment overload. Most students are involved in clubs and organizations, have jobs and attempt to maintain personal relationships. These same motivated and involved students are almost allergic to saying “no.” We fear FOMO, falling behind and mediocracy. Something has to be sacrificed to the supply chain of college, and too often, it is students’ mental wellbeing.
College should be a time for exploration and discovering what you could possibly spend the rest of your life doing. The fatigue that comes from being overwhelmed is not sustainable; yet, it’s something that college students accept to be normal. Living in a state of constant stress should not be normalized. Maybe #bookedandbusy should not always be romanticized. We have digressed into uncharted territory where the lines between work, academic and personal life are irreversibly blurred. I can’t help but hope that as these professional and academic spheres evolve, they spare the students involved.
Alex Mowrey is an Online Writer at Rowdy Magazine. She's a big fan of rice krispies treats, Ikea, and complex female characters!