Hypersocialization is an endemic problem for Tulane students, strains mental health

Hanson Dai | Associate Artist

Tulane’s work hard, play hard culture has stood the test of time, but it continues to burden students by reinforcing a culture of hypersocialization. For the sake of their continued health and happiness, students ought to budget time to be alone instead of fixating on constant interaction.

As a society, we’ve invented systematic of ways to describe how different people socialize. We’re all familiar with the Myers-Briggs tests astrology for business students. This test divides people into categories, including “extroverted” or “introverted.”

According to the theory, introverted people gain energy from being alone, while extroverted people draw energy from socialization. But few people discuss how hypersocialization, a cultural fixation on exposure to other people, can negatively impact everyone, including extroverts.

The effects of hypersocialization on introverts can be recognized fairly quickly. Increased stress and mental fatigue weigh heavily on introverted students who are pressured to over-socialize. But fewer people recognize how a culture of constant contact can weigh on extroverts.

Research conducted by the University of Helsinki found that extroverts gain short-term happiness from socialization, but they still suffer from considerable mental fatigue after extended social interactions. As a result, extroverts enter a cycle of socialization and fatigue that leaves them unhealthy, unproductive and sleep-deprived.

This stress cycle often begins at the start of college. Most Tulane students have experienced the frenzied orientation week, beginning at move-in and stretching for three days filled with endless socialization. Orientation is packed with nightly activities, and we rarely get the chance to breathe as the administration moves us from event to event. Events during orientation frequently end around midnight, and with the pressure to go out from the first day of school, students may not get to bed until 3 a.m., only to wake up five hours later for another full day.

But at a school known for its culture of lavish spending and intense partying, over-socialization doesn’t stop after orientation. For many students, life at Tulane can become a cycle of endless social exposure. This overexposure might not be an issue if students were capable of responding to over-socialization by retreating somewhere isolated to destress and recenter. Unfortunately, few students are given this luxury. As Tulane continues to slam students into increasingly cramped living spaces, we’re losing our last precious moments of alone time.

As we move forward, Tulane’s students and the administration must recognize the importance of intermittent isolation and must consider how factors like limited physical space and frenzied campus culture impact the mental health of students. Without change, students could find themselves burned out before they’ve even made it to their first Mardi Gras.

Leave a Comment