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September 24, 2016 | by  | in Brodie HYFIO |
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Trigger Warning: This piece discusses suicide and mental health.


We’re approaching the time of year where stress levels are building. Burnout sets in and we often end up questioning our choices and why we decided to put ourselves through this stress. One of the easiest and perhaps more common ways we deal with this is to have a bit of a rant and vent our feelings. If I’m anything to go by, this can include a lot of groaning, wishing for naps, and loud exclamations of “this f–king assignment is the worst, shoot me.” We often make jokes about wanting to die, or killing ourselves, rather than face the reality of uni and it’s quite toxic.

Suicide is no joke. Not when you’ve been suicidal for real, not when the majority of the funerals you’ve been to have been due to suicide, not when a large portion of your friends and whānau are also battling mental illness. Normalising it with jokes that aren’t even funny has to stop. It’s exhausting having to try and get through each day when mental illness sets in, let alone dealing with the same insensitive jokes. Our well being is not something to laugh over! Yes, jokes can be a coping mechanism, but there is a point where jokes do more harm than good. Joking about suicide is crossing the line.

I’m guilty of doing this, but am trying to make a conscious effort to stop. So what can we say instead? I quite like humour that’s as harmless and silly as possible. So here’s a list of silly alternative ways to complain about university:

  • “I’d rather burp slugs for the rest of my life than write this essay.”
  • “This assignment is an immediate cure for my insomnia.”
  • “I’d rather teach Irish ducks to read Jivanese than study for this exam.”
  • “This assignment is worse than trying to explain why a meme is funny to your parents.”

I’m sure there are better options out there—get creative! Perhaps your next form of procrastination could be to come up with as many harmless and effective insults for your assignments.

For mental health support, you can contact Student Health or call YouthLine on 0800 376 633. For support with assignments, you can contact Student Learning Support Services. Take care of yourselves!

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