The modern university facilitates academic’s depression

The fast pace of university life coupled with a long list of seemingly meaningless procedures may often precipitate an outbreak or exacerbation of a depressed scholar’s neurosis. Here you can find our research and essay on depression.


How to cope with dispiriting feelings and how to stay afloat being an academic at the modern university with a bottomless pit of demands?

The university can make scholars unhappy

Like any other workplace, the university can make many of us unhappy. Why? From early childhood, we got used to the scheme according to which we can stay in good graces of the significant others by being good boys and girls. By receiving gold stars, we tend to purchase self-worth from someone who is in authority. Being liked and thought highly is the need, which we often bring from childhood to adult life.

The thing is that unfortunately, a modern university is not the environment for cultivating and flourishing of the self-worth. Vice versa, it seems that a materialistic approach manifests itself in some sort of unmanagement, instrumentalist procedures of which do all but offer affirmation or reassurance. What you get is the opposite: a never-ending list of demands and tough deadlines, which do not facilitate personal development.

The modern university is marketized and doesn’t accept any limits. In fact, it’s all about work without end. Even when there are enough procedures to follow, new goals will be invented forcing us to fit into the competitive metrics.

The university is not quite the place to experience love and approval of others. The system works in such a way that we lose our belief in our capability of being loved and accepted. Unfortunately, what is cultivated for sure is the feeling of guilt, which may not even relate to the actual misconduct.


Accept the fact that academia is imperfect

If you expect things to make sense, start thinking critically and try to reconsider your point of view. Usually, academics tend to be both optimistic and rationalistic about their work. They know that there must be a logical sense in everything that concerns academic procedures. Scholars may also believe that if the issue is argued out reasonably, the mutual solution of the issue should inevitably take place.

However, upon further reflection, expecting everything to make sense may be naive. It might be difficult to accept this but that’s what you face in a modern university, which turns out to be a ritualistic place with quasi-rationalist vocabulary and worshiping of acknowledged customs. This may easily become a reason for depression of a scholar whose initial idea of employment was to reach personal, professional and existential fulfillment as opposed to a mere exchange of labor for money.


Break silence

The good news is that our society started to embrace the issue of mental health and emotional well-being. The stigma that surrounds depression is not removed yet but the progress is obvious. Still, depressives face a dilemma, which universities are not in a hurry to address. The academics with neuroses are aware that it is recommended to share their concerns with other people. Letting others know that you are struggling to cope may lessen the burden and the received support can help a depressive see everything in a brighter new light. However, there is a fine line between feeling relief after venting and getting a sense of hopelessness after you realize how real your problem is.

Working in such a demanding and at times insensitive setting as a university can be a challenge. Yet, a thorough introspection combined with the understanding of how the academic system works may help depressives figure out what is worth being dissatisfied about, learn how to avoid a waste of spirit, ditch frustration and, above all, preserve the unique personal strength.