Views expressed in opinion columns are the author’s own.

It’s that time of year again. We hear a classmate sniffling behind us, but we don’t know whether they’re sick or crying. We post Snapchats — supposedly, ironically — about how burnt out we are and how we want to drop out of school. Work starts to pile up, and reaching out to professors for help seems more daunting by the day. We might be regretting our choice of major, struggling in our classes, facing financial strain or managing a health issue. Yet we bury all of our anxieties.

The pressure to stay on track forces students to keep going and suffer the consequences. Educators, admissions counselors and psychology researchers herald the mysticism of “grit” as paramount to student success. Under that view, the ability to persevere despite hardship is one of the most important traits for a successful student to have.

It’s true a strong work ethic and good time management skills are important to cultivate, and students should be equipped to overcome adversity in order to succeed. However, the market-driven societal fixation of students working themselves to their breaking point is unrealistic, unsustainable and unhealthy.

In the spring 2018 National College Health Assessment, almost two-thirds of college students seeking counseling services reported experiencing overwhelming anxiety, and more than two-fifths reported being too depressed to function. The number of students reporting “moderate to high risk of suicide” has also increased in recent years.

Though the Counseling Center is admirably working to hire more psychologists and provide more services to help students cope, the university is not equipped to help students handle all the immense challenges they may face. The solution? Take some time off.

This university allows undergraduate students to withdraw from classes or take a leave of absence in the case of extraordinary circumstances, such as medical or psychological problems. However, taking a leave of absence can jeopardize students’ financial aid, and most scholarships are contingent on students completing their degree in four straight years.

Universities should support students in whatever decision is best for them. Students ignoring their problems to stay in school will only make these problems worse, leading them to graduate with poor grades or a degree that may not be right for them. Taking a break to earn — or save — money, manage health problems and reflect on academic and professional goals can make their university experience much more impactful when they do choose to return.

Financial aid in particular should not be contingent upon students completing school in a certain amount of time. Students will see a greater return on their investment if they can make informed choices about how they want to spend their time and what kind of degree they wish to pursue. Financial matters are a chief cause of stress for American college students, according to a Sodexo survey, and students taking out loans often don’t have the necessary knowledge to make informed financial decisions.

It isn’t worth pushing through hardship to keep a scholarship to study a field that you don’t want to pursue. Taking time off to work, saving money, starting to pay off loans or caring for one’s health can save you from future debt and financial burden.

Taking a leave of absence should not be viewed as giving up. Instead, it should be one of several effective strategies that students can employ to invest in their education and improve their quality of life.

Olivia Delaplaine is a senior government and politics major. She can be reached at