Quiet quitting alleviates college stress

Students refuse perfectionism in response to overwhelming expectations in college.

Lauren Good, Staff Writer

A new trend called “quiet quitting” rejects the notion that work has to take over one’s life. This philosophy increased in popularity recently as the obligation to perform with excellence continues to overwhelm students and workers in the U.S. The swelling pressure put on college students to achieve perfection caused an insurgent response to high expectations in the workplace. While some perceive quiet quitting as laziness, it is a healthy way for workers to reject the pressure of perfectionism that can lead to harmful effects.


According to NPR, quiet quitting is not about leaving your job, but rejecting the idea of going above and beyond. It is the philosophy that high expectations are unnecessary and the bare minimum of effort is sufficient.

Some causes of this behavior include overwhelming stress, pressure of perfectionism and the feeling of being overworked. The turmoil induced by consistently high performance levels causes one to feel overwhelmed, discouraged and burnt out. Quiet quitting is not about leaving work incomplete; rather, it is refusing to work harder than needed to fulfill the expectations outlined in the job description. 

Although people who resort to quiet quitting push through the pressure of doing the job itself, they figure out how to do their work with as minimal effort as possible. This is a common trend among college students as they juggle assignments from multiple classes in their busy schedules. A proper response to impossible expectations may be to redefine the idea of quiet quitting as a solution of grace.

I’d like to rework the idea a bit,” Cinema and Media Arts major Nathan Johnson said. “Quiet quitting rejects the idea to strive for perfection. The idea of striving for perfection, in my opinion, can be dangerous. It results to be more harmful than helpful. Instead of striving for perfection, one should strive for doing the best even if that’s not perfection.”


The American Institute of Stress suggests that there is an epidemic of stress among college students due to the high expectations they face when coming to universities. Because of the growing population of college applicants, universities have implemented more tedious and competitive application processes. With college administrators prioritizing excelling grades and high test scores, students feel the pressure of perfectionism before they even step foot on a college campus.  

Some college students in the United States commit to complete the work expected from them but begin to hit their limit before they finish their degree. Another term similar to quiet quitting, “senioritis,” denotes the lack of effort students put into schoolwork near the end of their college journey. 


Many college students neglect basic needs due to the stress of not only completing their work, but also doing their absolute best. This includes skipping out on eating, sleeping and spending free time with friends. Overworked students confront the dilemma of prioritizing their schoolwork over other activities.

Sometimes we need a break when we can’t get one,” Johnson said.  “That’s where quiet quitting comes in, where you accept not going above and beyond. That’s why I like the phrase, ‘Giving it your best,’ because your best today might not be your best in a month, but it is still your best. Our work is an expression of who we are, but not how we are defined.”

While juggling work, school and basic needs all at once, it is inevitable that effort will be dispersed differently along these areas. Perfectionism is impossible but navigating high expectations with grace leads to sufficient success. 

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