Thrive on Campus//

Credit Where Credit Is Due

"Just because you may be taking a below average, or even average, number of credits, that does not mean the stress you feel and the work you have is invalid compared to those taking more."

Courtesy of Kimberly Farmer / Unsplash
Courtesy of Kimberly Farmer / Unsplash

Welcome to our special section, Thrive on Campus, devoted to covering the urgent issue of mental health among college and university students from all angles. If you are a college student, we invite you to apply to be an Editor-at-Large, or to simply contribute (please tag your pieces ThriveOnCampus). We welcome faculty, clinicians, and graduates to contribute as well. Read more here.

Around registration time each semester at college, it seems to be a common thread to compare how many credits you’re taking with other people. While the average per semester at my college, Washington University in St. Louis, is 14-15 credits, people seem to take pride in the fact that they’re going above and beyond with 18, or even 21 in some cases. But my question is this: Who cares? Is complaining about how stressed you’re going to be due to the number of credits you’re taking impressive? Are people taking more credits than the average supposed to be respected more? 

The answer is obviously a resounding “no.” Just because you may be taking a below average, or even average, number of credits, that does not mean the stress you feel and the work you have is invalid compared to those taking more. I see college credit as a relative concept; for some people, 12 credits is enough to stimulate them academically while also allowing them to care for themselves mentally and physically. Some people may be able to handle 18 or 21 credits, but the number of credits you’re taking should not be a source of pride or some sort of validation for the work you’re doing. 

At the end of the day, no matter how many credits you’re taking, we will all be receiving a college degree at the same commencement ceremony. While it may be hard to ignore the pressure of pushing yourself to the absolute limit, it is important to recognize that everyone’s capacity for classes is different; some people have work-study jobs that are difficult to balance with a heavy workload. Some people are members of too many clubs to load up on classes. No matter what, credit is given where credit is due, and knowing yourself and your work habits is the most important thing to keep in mind when registering for classes.O

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More on Mental Health on Campus:

What Campus Mental Health Centers Are Doing to Keep Up With Student Need

If You’re a Student Who’s Struggling With Mental Health, These 7 Tips Will Help

The Hidden Stress of RAs in the Student Mental Health Crisis

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