Day 30: Academic Guilt

I took a day off.

Yes, I am working on #AcWriMo and my personal 100 day challenge. But I needed to rest.

I’ve mentioned it before, but I am completing my degree far away from my home institution because of some health issues. Being close to my family and friends has given me the strength to work as hard as I am.

So, if I need the rest because of my health, why do I feel so guilty?

Because this is what academic life has taught me I should feel.

The academic culture is a whorkaholic culture.

It is very normal for all academics to work long hours. And to prioritize work over everything else. Work-life balance, it seems, is for the post-tenure life.

Non-stop work is glorified from the very beginning. When I was a brand-new student, the older students would tell me how they worked 80 hour weeks.

To be clear, this is a problem that is not exclusive to my University. From what I have seen, this is true in most disciplines and in most Universities.


Even living thousands of miles away, I am still a part of the academic world. I still feel guilty.

The challenge, then, is to break from that culture and reject those norms.

I am doing this by reminding me of a few things whenever I have a guilt attack:

  1. Without health, I can’t do anything else.
  2. Mental health is part of being healthy.
  3. Personal time gives me energy to work.
  4. In order to be my best academic self, I need to be my best personal self.
  5. Resting and taking time away from research can allow me to get a better perspective.

All of these are meant to remind me that taking time off is essentially personal productivity instead of academic productivity.

By reframing time off as personal productivity, my academic guilt is managed.

I wish that I did not have to jump through so many mental hoops to take a day off. But this is the state of academia.

I am tracking my progress here.
Join me: 100 Day Challenge Trackin


4 Replies to “Day 30: Academic Guilt”

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