College is stressful. On top of doing mountains of homework, rushing papers and cramming for exams, some of us also have to juggle jobs and rough commuting. It kind of makes you wonder if all the headaches and pains of college is more harmful than helpful on our health. There’s definitely some truth in that mindset. There’s the constant struggle of depression and anxiety when choosing a major that can define your future career, but everyone says that it’s worth it in the end. Is it really?
Ongoing studies say yes, and it’s not just because it looks great on your resume. It turns out that going to college can actually improve your health in the long run. In fact, a 30-year study shows that attending university can cut the risk of heart disease by a significant amount. Sound wild? If you think about it, it sort of makes sense.
Researchers hypothesized that it all comes down to your lifestyle. More educated people tend to develop healthier habits and have more access to their basic nees. With a degree under their belt, they’re also able to obtain higher paying jobs and are eligible for better healthcare. Those with better education were also less likely to smoke or drink excessively. On the opposite spectrum, people with a lower education background are more likely to develop bad health habits.
As with all things, there are differing statistics between the sexes. According to Daily Mail, women who graduated reported having a 28% lifetime risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD). Those who did not receive a college education reported almost 51% risk of developing CVD. I’ll gladly take my 28% odds and finish college if it keeps me healthy and happy.
Male statistics were not as drastic, however it still proved its point. Male graduates reported a 42% risk of CVD while those who did not get their degree had a 59% lifetime risk. It still sounds high, but that’s almost a 20% difference. I don’t know if you still want to take that risk.
I know there are students that take breaks and that’s fine. Need to take a semester off? Sure. Need a year? Why not? The study did go too far into the amount of time an individual stayed in college, however Daily Mail did report that “For each additional year of education there was an 11 percent decrease in risk of developing [mental illnesses]”. Get a degree in anything you want. But in the name of all that is good, do what you can to finish college. It’ll all pay off in the long run.
This isn’t the first time better education has resulted in better health. Previous research found that going to college also prevented students from developing dementia due to the constant mental stimulation university provides.
“Educational attainment was inversely associated with the lifetime risk of CVD, regardless of other important socioeconomic characteristics,” Said Dr Kubota. “Our findings emphasize the need for further efforts to reduce CVD inequalities related to educational disparities.”
Multiple studies over the years all pointed to the same conclusion. Those who attended university were found to live better lives in the physical and mental health department. Elders that received better education were more mentally resilient and were not as vulnerable to illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease.
In short, no matter how bad college might feel right now it’ll all be worth it in the end. Hang in there. If four years of late night cramming sessions and ramen noodle diets can prevent me from getting sick when I’m old and wrinkled, I’d gladly go back to school…provided I could afford it.