Monday, March 30, 2009

College Stress

Are You Stressed, Really?
By Adriana Lorenzo

It’s rumored to cause the growth of grey hairs. It can lead to migraines, backaches, overeating and under eating. As a society we have given the six-letter word, stress, way too much power. There are even ridiculous variations of the word to more specifically diagnose our feelings. We can be in distress, have hyper-stress or even chronic stress.

The word has become such a major part of our vocabulary that I question if we even truly know how it feels to be stressed.

I woke up this morning immediately feeling stressed. I had overslept a bit and needed to take the Roosevelt Island red bus, then the tram, and then a bus up Second Avenue to get to my internship by 9 a.m. I knew I would be working extremely hard all day, only to get home and work on homework for school.

I was sent out on an errand in Queens at the end of my day, and unfortunately had chosen to wear the wrong shoes that were very uncomfortable. As my feet throbbed and I hobbled back to work, I kept thinking, “what a stressful day!”

As I think back on my day now, I realize how non-stressful my stress actually was. I am fortunate enough to have a job and the opportunity to pursue an education. Yes, I was wearing shoes that made my feet feel like they had knives in them, but I had shoes on my feet didn’t I? As a society facing huge issues like a recession and a change in power, we are claiming to stress over the most absurd things.

Flights are delayed 30 minutes and we are seen huffing and puffing, calling our relatives or friends to complain. Is the ability to sit in a chair and fly not enough of a magnificent invention to wait 30 minute for? An Internet page does not load immediately in three seconds and we slam our fists on our desks. The guys or girls we are dating don’t return our calls and we feel our lives are over. The barista at Starbucks hands us the wrong coffee and we feel our whole day is starting off wrong.

We have become so used to instant gratification that I think we are in fact just lazy or impatient most of the time instead of stressed. If we do not get what we want, when we want it, we feel stressed.

There is evidence everywhere that stress is contagious. If a friend rants to us about their stressful day, we feel the need to reciprocate and state all the “traumatic” occurrences of our day. We seem to always want to one-up each other with our workload, our school loads, and even our laundry loads.

According to the University of Florida Counseling Center, the way we stress may have an impact on our relationships with others. Stress is so negative, so why are we always talking about it and giving it such importance?

Don’t get me wrong. I realize there are major issues everywhere that are definitely stress-worthy. I feel we need to redefine what exactly stress is and what is stressful. Losing jobs, a lengthy war, a sick child or bills that are piling up all are definitely worthy of the six-letter word.

As the title of the popular book implies, we need to stop sweating the small stuff. Once we do, the word stress will seem so far off and distant we won’t even remember the last time we felt it.

Now isn’t that relaxing?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

College Stress

Are You Too Stressed To Read This Article?
By Holly Dougherty

It’s 4 a.m. You are in the computer lab of your college campus. The computer won’t recognize your junk drive with your annotated bibliography. The only thing showing up is a jumbled collection of boxes and asterisks and slashes.

Your 25-page paper on the history of Mao Zedong and communists China is due at 8 a.m. Just remember, college is the best time of your life.

Sometimes parents and teachers forget how stressful college actually is. If schoolwork isn’t enough, your late teens and early 20s are confusing and awkward times in your life. (We have all been there. None of us can deny it.) Stresses of work, debt, family, relationships, social pressures and numerous other pressures mount into an uncontrollable load for young adults.

The University of Florida Counseling Center sites four main sources of stress: 1. The Environment (noise, pollution, traffic and crowding, and the weather) 2. Physiological (illness, injuries, hormonal fluctuations and inadequate sleep or nutrition.) 3. Your Thoughts (the way you think affects how you respond. Negative self-talk, catastrophizing, and perfectionism all contribute to increased stress.) 4. Social Stressors (financial problems, work demands, social events, and losing a loved one).

One may not actually realized that they are stressed but there are many physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms that one should look for as outlined by the UFCC. Physical symptoms include muscular tension, high blood pressure, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, backaches, headaches, and indigestions.

Emotional symptoms can range from irritability to depression to anxiety and mood swings. Cognitive symptoms include forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, and unwanted or repetitive thoughts.

However, fret not you double-major student activity presidents. There is hope. The UFCC lists four ways in order to lower your stress level to a manageable level. First, develop a balanced life style. Don’t take five-hour energy shots and pig out on pizza and French fries the night before a final.

Small study sessions throughout the week, a regulated healthy diet, and a good night’s sleep will be sure to afford you the grade you desire without making you look like a bloated wreck.

Gain perspective by discussing problems also known as vent to a friend! Your roommate is in the same boat as you are so take an hour, veg out, have a snack and vent! You will feel better and energized and ready to get back to work!

There are specific relaxation techniques that you can use to rid yourself of stress. Most include deep muscle relaxation and clearing your mind of clutter for a short period of time. It gives you a moment of clarity in your crazy life.

Finally, and probably the most important, clarify your values and develop a sense of life meaning. What’s more important? A Friday night frat party or making sure you get enough sleep over the weekend for your 8 a.m. major final on Monday morning?

Doing things that make you feel good like exercising, volunteering, practicing your religion, and reading for pleasure, are all things that one can do that relieve stress and are good for you.

You may be too stressed to even read this article. But if you did I can guarantee that if you look for the symptoms of stress and practice ways to declutter your life and mind you will see results in no time. So calm down. Relax. Take a load off. In other words, don’t stress.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

College Stress

Stress Is Best
By Gabriella Calabro

New York is often referred to as a city full of “hustle and bustle and people are always on the go and trying to get to their destinations as fast as possible. Most New Yorkers would probably claim to have a stressful lifestyle, but what would they do if they didn’t? Would New Yorkers know what to do if they could leisurely walk to work in the morning, sit down and savor their morning coffee and thoroughly read the paper? Probably not. Stress is one of the main factors behind the city’s appeal, and it’s certainly a main factor in my life.

Sleeping your college years away may be less stressful, but completely

Sleeping until 10:00 am and having Fridays off used to be a top college priority of mine, but now as school and work get more demanding, I realize that every moment is precious and cannot be wasted sitting around doing nothing. Other students I know take a much more lax approach to their college years.

A typical Tuesday for me this semester consists of waking up at 8:00 a.m. and going to the Resident Advisor office in my residence hall to file all the programming information for our building. Between 9:45 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. I go upstairs to get ready for class, and need to be waiting for the elevator by 10:55. When 2:20 rolls around I have already completed two classes, grabbed a quick lunch, and made my way over to one of New York City’s top private elementary schools.

There I pick up a fourth grade girl, and the day has just begun -- from homework and low-glycemic snacks, to play dates, and swimming class, back home to finish homework, make and eat dinner and clean up afterwards. Once one of girl’s parents rolls in around 7:30 p.m., I find myself speed-walking or taking a taxi to the residence hall where I could be on duty from as early as 8:30 p.m. to as late as 12:30 a.m. Although there are days where I don’t get to eat dinner until 9:30 p.m., or go without seeing my boyfriend, I honestly do not think I would be happier if my life were any less busy.

According to the University of Florida Counseling Center (UFCC), “Much of the stress that we all experience is helpful and stimulating. The challenges of life tend to be stressful and an attempt to avoid stress completely would lead to a rather boring existence.”

A friend of mine has managed to design herself a pretty “stress free” semester. Taking mostly three hour classes, the earliest she ever has to be up is 1:30 p.m., after making her schedule she researched the classes and purposely stayed in ones with the least amount of homework and tests.

She has no pressure to wake up, go to class, and even though she has a job, she often finds people to take her shifts and has spent the majority of her semester in bed either sleeping or watching YouTube -- sounds pretty boring to me. I, on the other hand, have been out and about in the gorgeous city of New York meeting all different kinds of people and doing wonderful hands-on assignments for classes for my majors, English and Communication Arts, as well as my photography minor.

So what is lying in bed teaching her? How is this preparing her for “the real world,” as college usually claims to do? Why is she wasting all this money to attend such an expensive New York City college if she could sleep at a community college? If she’s falling into these habits in her early 20s, what will make her snap out of them in a year or two?

Without stress there would be no pressure or motivation to do anything, and everyone would just end up sleeping all day. There is no “right way” to spend your college years, but I certainly live by the “work now, play later” mentality. Why not get as much done as I can now and learn as much as possible while I’m still young and energized?

Living a stressful life now can only have a positive outcome -- I’ll either be so used to the stress I won’t notice how stressful adulthood is and will be able to handle it with ease, or my hard work will pay off and I’ll be living in the lap of luxury without a care in the world!

Either way I’ll probably be happier and more productive than the girl sleeping her college life away!

College Stress

Loving Stress
By Thomas Ford

I always hear of my friends and classmates complaining about stress. They’re stressed about homework. They’re stressed about boyfriends and girlfriends. They’re stressed about just about anything and everything that interferes with what they want to do. And all I want to do is tell them to wake up.

I think that we, as a generation, tend to forget that a lot of times what we want to do cannot always be our first priority. We have to complete all of the grunt work, all of the things we don’t want to do but need to do, in order to prepare ourselves for what we ultimately want to accomplish.

I think I have to thank my love for dance and life as a dancer for that very discipline it has instilled in me. Never did I ever imagine that I would be doing commercials for FOX and UPN, performing at the Lincoln Center and Kennedy Center, touring the country or becoming Rihanna’s choreographer’s demonstrator, when I was sitting in a dance studio sweaty and exhausted.

Sure, it was stressful. I was dancing close to fifty hours a week, in Honors and AP classes, a board member of several clubs, and teaching and choreographing dance on top of all of that. But the fact that I loved it more than anything else is what helped me to get through it and what reassured me that there was light at the end of the tunnel as long as I strived for it.

That may be the key to dealing with stress: finding something you love and sticking to it. Though it is impossible to eradicate stress from one’s life completely, and according to the University of Florida Counseling Center, some stress is good and stimulating, I think when stress is involved with something we love to do, we don’t look at it in a negative light. We look at it as progress. We look at it as something we must do to get what we want. We look at it as what is going to make us the best at what we want to be.

I did not mind putting so much of my life in to what I loved to do because I knew that it was what made me happy. You begin to appreciate the amount of work you are putting into whatever you love to do because you realize that it is only going to make you better in the long haul.

My advice in a nutshell: do what you love. The University of Florida Counseling Center says, “A student may be studying accounting when he or she really wants to be an artist,” and attributes stress to one’s negligence in pursuing his or her true love.

Now, doing what you love may not necessarily be any less stressful than doing what you hate. It’ll be more work because you’ll push yourself that much more to be successful. But, your love for that activity or art or career will be more stimulating than anything else could possibly be during times of severe stress.

College Stress

The Campus Is Your Bubble. Not!
Attending college in New York City has its own additional stress factors

By Alexandra Gardell

It is a popular belief that college is supposed to be the time of one’s life. Parties, dorm life, mornings that start at the crack of 11 a.m. College students are often considered to have limited responsibilities; generally there are no bills to pay, no full time jobs to worry about, no children to raise.

Just the task of waking up, making an appearance at class, the occasional term paper to write or exam to study for. Tuition, meal plan, and room and board are typically taken care of at the beginning of the semester, not to be worried about until the next round.

The majority of my friends are living this stereotypical college experience, where the campus is your bubble. And although this may be reality for some, it is far from the truth for many, me included.

Attending college in Manhattan is a unique experience; there are countless opportunities to take part in internships, careers, and social activities that are not usually available to students in other parts of the country.

I know in my own experience as a young person attending Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, I have a full-time job, a full-time school schedule, and a part time job that I commute to out-of-state. I also have family, friend, and volunteerism commitments to tend to daily.

Marymount is known to use the tagline, “the city is your campus,” when recruiting new students, but I often find it difficult to find time to actually enjoy living in the city with such a hectic schedule and a vast array of commitments. Having so many opportunities and obligations makes it easy to bite off more than you can chew and to become overwhelmed.

According to the University of Florida Counseling Center (UFCC), there are four main sources of stress: The environment, physiological, your thoughts, and social stressors. The negative results of stress show up as physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms. Students at Marymount and other institutions can relate to the issues that cause these negative feelings.

Specifically speaking about students attending college in New York City, there are unavoidable environmental stressors, including crowding, public transportation hassles, and a general sense of urgency in the air. Power walking through masses of people to catch the subway as you race from your full-time job to your night class is an experience unique to living in a large and fast- paced city.

Physiological stressors, which the UFCC describes as “illness, injuries, hormonal fluctuations, and inadequate sleep or nutrition,” seem to be synonymous with college life. Young people are notorious for their poor eating and sleeping habits, which are often the cause of bad health and affects their ever changing hormones.

The collegiate lifestyle does not help alleviate these symptoms, but rather enables them. Long nights, busy days, lack of funds and time for healthy meals help send students into downward health spirals.

It’s easy to freak out when students have to worry about things like holding onto scholarships and keeping grade point averages up. Students who do not live up to high standards set by themselves or others may tell themselves that they are not good enough or smart enough, which can cause unhealthy self-images, depression, and stress. None of which are good for mental stability and health.

Social stressors, like money issues, deadlines, and relationships are also high on the list for causes of student stress. For example, many students at Marymount live in apartments. Although this sounds glamorous, it also means that there are multiple bills to pay each month, including rent, utilities, and other services like cable and the Internet.

Normally it also means living with roommates, which in itself can lead to stress over issues such as cleaning, guests, personality clashes, and other power struggles. Costs associated with living in Manhattan are high, and in general, student incomes are low, so there is a constant feeling of anxiety about how to make ends meet.

The UFCC suggests that balance is key to a healthy and happy life. Stress in small increments keeps students on their toes. Having short-term goals, such as deadlines for papers, helps one stay focused. Too much stress, on the other hand, can be detrimental. It is easy to feel overwhelmed when you are trying to juggle multiple responsibilities and wear many hats.

Students also need to schedule some “me-time” for themselves. The UFCC suggests regular exercise, meditating, and sharing one’s feelings with loved ones as examples of how to achieve a relaxed mind and body.

Even though I often feel swamped, I do not mind having a non-stop, jam-packed schedule. I actually believe in a way that once I enter what some refer to as the real world or life after college, I will lighten up.

My thinking is that school will be one less thing on my plate, as I am already accustomed to working, taking care of my own finances, and dealing with my own housing situation.

I suppose this is not the typical response to thinking about life after graduation, but hey, going to college in New York City is not the typical college experience either.

College Stress

Combating Stress With TV And A Heating Pad
By Heather Bates

It's midterms week. I am sitting on my bed in my Upper East Side apartment, located in Manhattan near my liberal arts college. Today, I made a list of things to do. I figured if I wrote it all down, I would feel less overwhelmed by the several assignments looming on my busy horizon.

However, instead of getting my work done, I am laying on a heating pad and watching "Wife Swap" on Lifetime. My back aches. I got little to no sleep last night, and it is 7:00 pm and I still have yet to eat a single thing for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Stress if not an unfamiliar topic to me.

Sure, living in Manhattan at the young age of 19 has its perks. When I recall the events of my day to a friend or relative, they overlook my heavy work load by reminding me continuously of how lucky I am to live here. Most days, I would have to say that I disagree.

College life in New York City is not all it's cracked up to be. I attend school full-time and work hard to keep my scholarships. I work in a busy retail environment where I am constantly on my feet. I have a pile of laundry, a messy apartment, neglected friends and family, unfiled taxes, forgotten homework, and a serious boyfriend. No wonder my back hurts.

According to the University of Florida Counseling Center, there are four primary sources of stress: environmental, physiological, our thoughts, and social stressors. Developing a balanced lifestyle by maintaining a sleep schedule and a healthy diet is a sure way to eliminate unnecessary stress. If students can adjust their schedules and find time to focus on their own well-being, the load of stress will begin to lighten.

The counseling center commented: "Some people are in a constant state of trying to catch up. They find themselves rushing and hurrying from one activity to another, always racing with the clock and never getting on top of things. Part of this problem, for many students, is not being well organized. Effective time management can help."

There are others way that college students can create a less stressful environment as well. The University of Florida Counseling Center says that we can gain perspective by discussing our problems and offers several relaxation techniques to help us mellow out. Meditation, self-hypnosis, and deep muscle relaxation are all techniques that students can practice on a regular basis to help them cope with stress.

The key is understanding that stress is only harmful to us when it becomes excessive. According to the UFCC, "Much of the stress that we all experience is helpful and stimulating. The challenges of life tend to be stressful and an attempt to avoid stress completely would lead to a rather boring existence. The problem comes when you experience too much stress."

It is no secret that most college students are constantly feeling the stresses and pressures of their daily lives. However, it becomes clear that there are ways to help avoid it all becoming too much. Sometimes, they might even include "Wife Swap" and a heating pad.

College Stress

The Many Faces Of Stress
By Katy Berninger

I remember waking up in the middle of night and having the most excruciating headache I had ever experienced. Recounting the pain to my parents the next day, I compared my headache to that of having someone take a knife and repeatedly stab my head.

My very alarmed parents asked me if I was stressed in anyway and was there something that was weighing on my mind or causing an extra burden. I told them no, there wasn't anything in particular. Besides, I thought, I would know if I were stressed.

Low and behold, my curiosity to find out what had caused my headache led me to the Internet and to a symptom of stress, which I think is very appropriately named an “ice pick headache.”

Scanning the Internet I found an abundant amount of information on this type of headache and came to the conclusion that perhaps I was stressed. Maybe, contrary to my own beliefs, sometimes we don't realize when we're stressed.

What the University of Florida Counseling Center (UFCC) explains is that “symptoms of stress come in many forms.” I was experiencing headaches for months before it culminated into one massive headache that forced to me to pay attention to what my body was telling me. I had no idea that it was because of stress, and I assumed that if I were legitimately feeling a strain in some aspect of my life that my reaction would be more emotional.

The UFCC acknowledges that stress can disguise itself in a variety of ways. It becomes our job to recognize when a headache is not just any headache, or the anger you feel is far more deep rooted.

Our inability to recognize symptoms of stress is why it is crucial for there to be more education on the topic and the effects it can have on our bodies and minds. We will be better equipped to handle stress if we know what to look for.

The UFCC is taking a step towards bringing awareness to this very issue, and knows that stress is so common that people tend to forget that it is there. I went about my daily life completely oblivious that I was stressed. Once I paid attention to how I was feeling I was better able to pinpoint what was causing the stress in my life, and remedy the situation.

For many people, including myself, I think there tends to be a disconnect between what we think stress is and how we expect our bodies to react. I immediately brushed off the idea that I was under any type of stress because I didn't exhibit any of the, what I thought, were common symptoms.

Looking back I realize that I should have been paying better attention. Perhaps, now when you notice small changes in your body or mind you will take care of yourself. I know I have learned my lesson.

College Stress

Coffee Smoffee
By Sydney Zarp

Every night around midnight I catch myself wishing there were a couple more hours in the day. Loaded with stress from club responsibilities, midterms, job duties, and a social life, there just is not enough time in the day to have a healthy balance of everything.

My daily schedule is packed hour-to-hour with things that need to get accomplished. From 7 a.m. to midnight I feel like I never have a moment to breathe. This has been apart of my life since I was a young girl in elementary school, always having a loaded schedule, and this stress has caused my painful migraines.

I have been in and out of doctors’ offices for the past eight years searching for what my migraine trigger could possibly be. Some told me that I am allergic to caffeine and others told me that it is ‘just a phase’ and I will grow out of it.

Finally, fed-up with missing school events and calling in sick to work, I found a specialist to get a straight answer. After multiple tests from hearing to eyesight, my doctor looked me dead in the eye and said the reason for my migraines is because of the ‘high stress levels and lack of sleep.’

All these years and that was the simple answer! If only someone could have told me that nine years ago, I could have lived a much smoother life.

To avoid these migraines I have had to adapt to a new lifestyle, which I am sure many other college students could benefit from. Life adjustments need to be made. Learning how to handle the stress of daily activities and making time for the social life we crave is essential.

The University of Florida Counseling Center says, “part of this problem, for many students, is not being well-organized. Effective time management can help.”

Sometimes choosing not to go party with your friends on a Friday night is the decision you have to make for your health. Stress can cause physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms. The UFCC gives us insight on what the symptoms may include, “muscular tension, backaches, depression, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating.”

These are just a few of the symptoms many students and adults suffer from daily. The UFCC helps us define a way to avoid stress by, “The right balance of sleep, food, exercise, work, school, and recreation is crucial.”

Finding the perfect balance of our daily stresses is a struggle for everyone. Although for me, and many other students, it’s the only way to avoid painful migraines. Altering my lifestyle has been tough, but the benefits of living a more stress free life outweigh the random fun Friday nights.

Taking a step back from the smaller picture and looking at your life as a whole can help you gain perspective. The UFCC says, “Clarifying your values and deciding what you really want out of your life can help you feel better about yourself and have that sense of satisfaction and centeredness that helps you deal with the stresses of life.”

Setting long-term goals is one way I have adjusted my life for the better. By having a clear vision of what I want out of the next two years, I can avoid some pointless stress. Also, setting aside specific times to do things I truly enjoy like shopping, or playing tennis with my friends are small adjustments that have made big life improvements for me, and should be something more college students do.

Maybe the pressures of exceeding in both school and life have become so stressful that students will have to learn to live with stress forever. Changing those behaviors that you can could be the first step in a healthier direction. Maybe your headache is not from a three-cup a day coffee overload, but more of an issue with stress.

College Stress

Can Stress Be A Blessing In Disguise?
By Alyssa Schwartz

“I’m SO stressed!” This statement is one that is heard over and over by numerous people throughout each and every day. I personally say the phrase at least once or twice a day. Between school, work, socializing and life responsibilities; there are many factors coming in and out of our lives that cause us to be stressed.

As a society, we have made stress into an illness that we constantly want to avoid; but is stress really as bad as it is made out to be?

According to the University of Florida Counseling Center, stress comes into people’s lives through various different channels. There are four primary sources of stress that can cause people to have physical, emotional and cognitive pains and worries in their lives. People become tense and nervous, ultimately causing themselves “stress.”

We let this stress affect the way we run our lives. Our perspective on stress is often so concentrated on seeing the negative; that we fail to see all of the good that can come with being “stressed.”

I see stress as motivator rather then a problem. As a college student there are a lot of “stresses” that come with doing well in school and achieving a degree. Waking up earlier than wanted, working hard all day in various classes then coming home to do more reports and assignments all cause a great deal of worry and anxiety.

Stress becomes my motivator to do well and to work hard. The anxiety and nervousness that comes with deadlines and grades is what pushes me to do better and work harder. Without that stress; there would be little motivation or reason to work my hardest.

The stress put on college students by society to go to school and get a degree is one of the main reasons most people go to school and work hard. Especially in today’s economy, the need for a degree pushes people to go to school and do well.

The jobs and opportunities that come out of achieving a college degree are usually worth the stress and work that one has to contribute. Stress was one of the main forces behind my motivation to receive an internship I wanted and to be successful in the job. The stress of the competition pushed me to prove myself as the best candidate. Stress becomes a high force behind success.

While having too low of a stress level will not do much of anything for you; having too high of a stress level will not better you either. The University of Florida suggests developing a balanced lifestyle as a way of overcoming stress and finding an optimum stress level. The ability to make stress work for you is an essential part of finding the good in stress.

Everyone is going to get stressed at some point in his or her lives. Almost every situation we have humans can cause stress on some level. It is so easy to get caught up in our problems and in our stress that we let it affect us in a negative manner.

Learning how to indentify stress and turn it into a positive aspect could lead people to be more successful in everything that they do. Finding your optimum stress will ultimately enable you to work hard, concentrate more and motivate yourself to be the best you can be.

College Stress

Try Exercising Your Stress Into Submission
By Erin Maguire

It is an average, spring afternoon at Marymount Manhattan College. Midterms have almost passed, and students are preparing for spring break. However, around this college, and countless others throughout the country, there is a harried atmosphere of frenzy. This is commonplace for college, and according to a recent study at UCLA, 30 percent of freshmen surveyed reported feeling stressed and "frequently overwhelmed" by everything they have to do.

So what's to be done when midterms, school loans, and papers are all weighing on the mind? Exercise. Regular exercise along with a healthy diet and balanced lifestyle can be the best stress relieving tool out there. According to the University of Florida Counseling Center (UFCC), living a healthy lifestyle can be one of the biggest ways to battle stress, "your overall level of health also affects stress reactions to various situations.

Someone who is always feeling overwhelmed, eats poorly, and doesn't get enough sleep (a description of many students) usually has a limited ability to cope with stressful events. You need to pay attention to your own well-being. The right balance of sleep, food, exercise, work, school, and recreation is crucial."

Additionally, according to the article, “How Exercise Helps Reduce Stress” published on Article Alley, when a person is stressed there are certain chemical reactions that occur in the body preparing it for the fight or flight response.

This response was important during our days as prehistoric caveman when animal attacks were more prevalent, but now, modern man doesn't have to face a saber toothed tiger on a daily basis, and because of this response we are left with a surplus of negative emotions and adrenaline. This is where exercise comes in; exercise can be an important outlet for these pent up feelings of stress, including worrying, anxiety, depression and irritability. Regular exercise manages this fight or flight response and helps restore the body to equilibrium.

Moreover, another leading causes of stress according to UFCC, is "general unhappiness and a sense of aimlessness or lack of purpose often....people sometimes wind up making choices and living life styles that really don't fit them." Exercising regularly increases endorphins, which are the body's 'feel good' chemicals. Runners will often refer to this phenomenon as runners high.

Exercising can provide immediate relief for feelings of unhappiness and can also provide long term happiness by leading to better self esteem. When a person regularly exercises, they know they are moving towards a better, healthier body, and results are visible which can give a person a sense of direction because they know they are working towards something.

So, where can students exercise? Anywhere. Exercising doesn’t have to be expensive. If not interested in joining a gym, students can purchase home work out DVDs, take brisk walks, go jogging, or even join a recreational sports team. Some great picks for Marymount students? Crunch Fitness is located on 59th Street and 2nd Avenue and has amenities such as fun classes, a steam room/sauna, boxing ring and weight studios. Some other local options are Equinox, and Focus on Fitness that have special Marymount student rates.

Monday, March 23, 2009

College Stress

Stress: A Deadly Matter
By Damaris Colon

Excruciating and pounding migraines, sensitivity to light, and nose bleeds; these are the physical complications I’ve experienced as a result of what many college students are recently becoming way too familiar with.

In March of 2008, I visted my doctor and told him my symptoms. After a few minutes he quickly found the cause of my frequent headaches and nose bleeds: high blood pressure, which has been linked to heart attacks and sudden death. The doctor told me that I “would be on medication for the rest of my life.”

Everyday causes of stress: school, work, commuting, and health.

There should be no reason for a twenty-one year old woman to be diagnosed with high blood pressure; with a generally healthy diet what could be the cause? The answer: STRESS. Being a junior in college is stressful enough on its own. However, being a full-time junior in college, a full time public relations assistant, living alone, paying bills, and maintaining a relationship has proven to be ten times more stressful; and I have the prescription meds to prove it.

This scenario may become too familiar for college students today; though everyone reacts to stress differently. According to the University of Florida’s Counseling Center ( UFCC), students today are experiencing more stress than the generations before them as they face the competition for grades, the need to perform, relationships, fear of AIDS, career choice, and many other aspects of college life.

Not all stress is bad stress, however. The stress you feel when you are preparing to take an exam may give you that extra push you need to focus and study hard so you can do well on your test. The trouble arises when you experience too much stress says the UFCC.

The UFCC provides four primary sources of stress: the environment (noise, pollution, traffic, crowding) physiological (illness, injuries, inadequate sleep), your thoughts (the way you think affects how you respond), and social stressors (financial problems, work demands, losing a loved one).

Like many illnesses stress doesn’t go without symptoms. Some of these symptoms of stress can include physical symptoms such as high blood pressure, muscular tension, headaches, and difficulty sleeping; emotional symptoms such as irritability, depression, and anger; and cognitive symptoms such as forgetfulness, unwanted thoughts, and difficulty concentrating.

There are several ways to minimize stress in your life. The UFCC specifies four general ways to minimize and deal with stress; these include developing a balanced lifestyle, gaining perspective by discussing problems, utilizing relaxation techniques, and clarifying your values and develop a sense of life meaning. By maintaining the right balance of sleep, food, exercise, work, and recreation you can begin to develop a balanced lifestyle.

Allowing oneself to discuss problems with a friend is a great way to gain new perspectives. Seeking relaxation through calming exercises such as deep breathing, yoga, or even just sitting in silence can lead to a replenished energy level and ability to cope with the outside world. Knowing what you want out of life and setting goals can help you feel better about yourself and increase your satisfaction out of life.

Stress has become a part of our every day lives however; we don’t have to let it run our lives. It is very important, for college student especially, to maintain a healthy lifestyle now so as to insure healthy habits in the future.

For more information on this visit the University of Florida’s Counseling Center online.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Decision 2008

Sore Losers Just Can’t Let The Election Go
By Megan Biscieglia

This election season brought out the crazy in people. Since we are now in an age where everyone is able to be connected with one another via internet, strange, obscure and weird emails were all over the interweb, filling up inboxes and making people angry.

“It was really weird. My grandmother kept sending me crazy anti-Obama emails,” says Dustin Khebzou, 21. “They were all about how he is a secret Muslim and is in cahoots with the Taliban. They were amusing, but it’s pretty scary to think that some people actually believed that stuff.”

That’s the beauty of the internet. Everyone, including the crazies who spend their time making up lies about people they disagree with, are free to express their opinion and share it with the rest of us, whether we want like to hear it or not.

“I received an e-mail about Obama being the antichrist,” says Jackie Lambert, 24. “It kind of got to a point where it stopped being funny and started getting scary. To think that some people in our country are so small-minded that they had to make up these ridiculous stories is beyond me.”

Who are the people that write these emails? Where do they come from? Do they really believe the things they say? Do they really believe Obama is such a bad man? What are they worried about, Obama showing up and personally ripping off the “support your troops” ribbon from the back of their beat up Ford conversion van? It’s not going to happen.

Obama wasn’t alone in feeling the wrath of hatred. There were plenty of others on the liberal end making up the same strange stories.

“I received an email about John McCain not knowing how many houses he has,” says Craig Darcer, 19. “It was trying to prove how irresponsible he is financially. People were really caring about that kind of thing considering the state of our economy. The president is expected to come in and fix all of that. This email consisted of no truth whatsoever though. I don’t think it was meant to be believed,” he says.

One might think that once Obama won the election, the letters from both ends would stop, but they haven’t. Hate-charged Emails continue to fill up inboxes all over the country.

“I’m so sick of hearing about Sarah Palin,” says Lambert. “I was sick of her the minute after I found out who she was and what she stood for. Yet, for some reason I keep getting jokes about her in my inbox and it really makes me angry. Even the mention of her name is annoying to me, yet there’s nothing I can do to get away from her. She is still all over the media and on my favorite blogs.”

Lambert says she wants it to stop. “I want people to send their hate mail elsewhere. I’m so sick of the election. It ended weeks ago, yet some people just can’t accept defeat. Just last week I received one (e-mail) about Obama being a secret Muslim, which is an old rumor. This fallacy is news to no one, we’ve all heard it before and it’s just really ridiculous and irritating. And I wish it would stop. Can’t I just gloat in peace?”

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Decision 2008

Jessie Jackson Probably Didn’t Believe Obama Would Win
By Tiffany Sims

I remember asking my 61 year-old dad earlier this year if he was going to vote during the primary election. He told me “No, cause it won’t matter.” He didn’t think that Obama would win because he still has the mentality that Black people can’t get ahead in life in this world. I don’t know what changed his mind. Perhaps it was my disapproving of his answer. But he ended up voting on November 4th.

Perhaps my dad’s reasons for his comment earlier this year was a result of his parents not educating him about politics. As a result of that, I grew up not knowing much about politics. Besides the infamous Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal, I wasn’t interested in politics. I was interested in movies and music.

But during my senior year of high school in 2000, I remember my history teacher, Mr. Snow, passed out a voter’s registration application and stressed the importance and privilege of now being old enough to vote. I remember not really “getting it” and not really caring about it that much to ask one of my peers, or Mr. Snow to help me understand more about it. Not hearing either of my parents talk about politics and not remembering them taking me with them to vote when I was younger affected me so that I didn’t find it relevant.

But then, I met my boyfriend during the summer of 2004 while following my passions for music and movies. He was an actor and singer-songwriter who happened to have the day job as a lawyer. During that fall, when the upcoming election was upon us, he asked if I was going to vote and I remember saying, “What for? It’s not like my vote really is going to matter?”

He seemed disappointed that I didn’t care about voting. But he asked me about voting again a day or two before the election, and feeling a bit pressured, I reluctantly said I would vote, but I still didn’t see the point. Being that I didn’t really care when I voted, I believe I voted for Gore, and felt justified that my vote didn’t count since Bush was re-elected.

But in the four years since the last election, and thanks to my boyfriend’s interest in politics, I’ve become more aware of how important it is to vote. The decline of our economy and the seemingly senseless, drawn out war in Iraq has led me to believe that change was needed, and fast.

I first heard about Barack Obama when my boyfriend brought him up around the 2004 election. I remember him mentioning that he thought Obama spoke well. I didn’t really think much about Obama, and just figured he was another black person in politics like Colin Powell, Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. But once he announced his candidacy and began campaigning in early 2007, I began to notice him more.

By the time it came to vote during the primaries this past February, I had the tough decision of deciding between Barack and Hilary Clinton. Both of their policies appeared so similar and I was torn between choosing someone of the same race as me and someone of the same sex. I believe I chose Barack ultimately because I felt like I related to him and what he said in his speeches. I felt more connected to him as a person than to Hilary Clinton because I felt she didn’t reach young women enough.

After the two presidential candidates, Obama and McCain were confirmed, it became clear that I would vote for Obama. I was very confident in my opinion and had no doubt that he would win, provided that people vote. As Election Day drew closer, I still had my dad’s quote of, “my vote won’t matter”, running through my head. I had a fear that Blacks and Hispanics wouldn’t vote for fear that their vote wouldn’t matter.

Also seeing Jessie Jackson’s slip up on Fox News stating, “See, Barack's been, ahh, talking down to black people on this faith-based... I want to cut his nuts off...” that led me to believe that some black people may not vote for Barack because he’s half-white and they’re using that as an excuse not to vote. But thankfully, that wasn’t the case and Obama has made history. And Jackson was teary-eyed at Obama’s acceptance speech at Chicago’s Grant Park

Being that Obama is half Kenyan and half Irish/German, he sees the world similar to how I see it, and have since I was younger. America is the land of opportunity and brings together people from every race, sex, sexual preference and political choice. And even though at times things may seem black and white, as long as people instill the belief in themselves and those around them that anything is possible, no matter what color, we as a people can do anything.

Before Obama became president-elect, every other race that was not Caucasian, probably felt that becoming President of the U.S. was not in their reach. But now that Obama will become President, maybe this will begin the change the thought process to you can do anything.

Decision 2008

One More Chance To Wear Your Obama T-Shirt
By Mary McGee

What’s going to happen to the tote bags? The T-shirts? The buttons?

On Tuesday, November 4, I was decked out. I had on a Barack Obama T-shirt and two buttons, one in honor of his wife, Michelle. I saw others with sweatshirts, scarves and yes, even tote bags. On November 5, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to wear my Obama shirt again in celebration of victory. My roommate pointed out: “If you’re ever going to wear it again, today’s the day.”

She was right. November 5, 2008 was the last entirely appropriate day to wear Obama apparel. I just think it would feel kind of weird after that because, as a young liberal- minded person, I’m supposed to be skeptical and critical of my government by default. It’s all I’ve known to do over these past eight years. By now, it’s become nearly impossible not to be cynical and jaded after having literally grown up in an America with an administration that I, and most of those I know, never believed in. I have never been given a reason to believe.

So many people were supportive of Barack Obama. People who had abstained from voting in previous elections. Young voters who would not have registered otherwise. Some who had proudly supported George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. To be entirely cliché and trite, Obama was in fact a beacon of hope and sign of change. Now that he is going to be the next President of the United States, what are the cynics going to do?

Obama has a huge mess to clean up starting on January 21, 2009. What has always been my fear ever since that pedestal was erected beneath Obama’s feet is the inevitable fact that what goes up must indeed come down. I know I’m entirely ready to be one of the people that catch him. But what about everyone else?

Will they be quick to forget their signs and bumper stickers? I hope that when Obama makes his first inevitable stumble that their T-shirt will be hanging in their closet where they can see it. I hope they will be quick to recall the elation they felt as they watched Senator John McCain deliver his concession speech before the last poll had even closed, and the pride they felt when Obama took the stage in Grant Park in Chicago after being introduced as “the next President of the United States.”

On January 20, 2009 I will don my Barack Obama T-shirt and take a deep breath. I will try to look at this as a fresh start to what will unfortunately be the same enormous problems. But for reasons that are difficult for me to describe, I just simply have faith in this man and I truly always have. I don’t even agree with every single one of his policies, but his is a voice that I willingly listen to. I hope my fellow youth voters, the dyed-in-the wool Democrats and the newly reformed will learn to do the same.

Decision 2008

Is It Over Yet?
By Jordan Price

The word vote. It is the one single word I have been hearing non-stop, voluntarily or involuntarily, for the past few months, day in and day out. It has been the topic of conversation in school, on the subway, as I’m walking in the city, as I’m switching the channels on my TV, as I surf the net, Facebook statuses, headlines of papers, topics of lectures, arguments with parents, discussions with my boyfriend, topics of assignments… and so on… and so on.

This word has single-handedly invaded my life. And am I ever glad that I will not be hearing that word as routinely for another four years.

Now, one might think I’m being unpatriotic or cynical at the results of a historical, major election. Well hey, I voted for the first time in my life and I won’t lie, I felt a rush of excitement after pressing that little green button in the booth. I knew I had done my part. But along with the thrill of a first time experience came the relief of getting on with my life!

The constant badgering and bothering of every political-minded person in our country, hounding every person to vote is enough to make someone not want to vote. I was almost to the point, where I was not going to vote just to spite every person pressuring me too. Create change! Do the right thing!

Enough already. I voted, okay? Do I need to be told incessantly by classmates in school to celebrities on TV? No. I consider myself to be an average, knowledgeable person, and I think it is rather irritating to be told who to vote for, or just simply to vote, an unnecessary amount of times in an unnecessary amount of ways.

The weekend before the election I made a trip home to Pennsylvania to see my family and vote in my home state. Of course we all ended up in several inevitable political debates, my family taking the conservative McCain route, and me, the “hippie” of the family, taking the liberal Obama route. At the end of our excruciating discussions, we all would force a laugh and agree on ONE thing… this election has run its course and we are all ready to put it to rest.

Am I happy with the result of the election? Of course I am, my guy won! President Barack Obama certainly has quite the job in front of him, and I hope his plans for dramatic change and policy pull through smoothly and for the better in our country.

But I stand my ground when I say; I am ready to move on. There is no longer any point in debating non-stop about the Presidential candidates when the new President has been elected, and America has spoken.

Now, please, let us all move on!

Decision 2008

We Were One On November 4th
By Alex Catarinella

Historic. Monumental. The most important date in American history. I'm sure we have all heard something of this nature in the past hours. But, somehow, it still hasn't set in.

It hasn't even been 24 hours, but we can now breathe. Sort of. But, what I can do is reflect upon last night. The first time since I can remember where I could say I'm again proud to be an American.

As I walked into an East Village bar last night, the crowd began to freak out. It was only about 11 PM and CNN was already predicting what seemed unthinkable a few months ago. And this time, there was no shady recounting. I could not control the screaming that roared from within me. I could not believe how united everyone in the bar was. The hugs were never-ending. I thought: "So this is what they meant by 'America the Beautiful'."

I haven't shed more than a few tears since my uncle succumbed to cancer over a year ago. And I couldn't help but to relate his musical group, the Beatles, and lead singer John Lennon’s solo album, "Imagine," to last night.

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one.

And as Barack gave his victory speech, my tears began to pour. I felt a sense of oneness as Barack, the dreamer, the one that virtually came out of nowhere, was elected President of the United States. Essentially, he is the leader that could allow the world to "be as one." I will never forget what my aunt told me shortly before my uncle passed away: "There is no life without hope." Barack may be that hope for us.

As my friends and I descended into the streets of New York, we had no plan. We stumbled where our feet took us, like we were walking in a dreamy haze. We shared a little too many celebratory drinks, which certainly helped my over-friendliness. We began to run to the arms of every stranger--of every age, ethnicity, gender--screaming at the top of our lungs "Yes, we DID!"

And these weren't just any hugs: they were genuine, bear hugs that you don't just give out to any stranger. But it didn't matter last night. Barack spoke to me, to millions, and he can speak to all of us. That's what exactly what Barack did. He spoke to the youth via the Internet and touring college campuses; he didn't silence us. He allowed us to have a voice.

My newfound freedom was exhilarating. And out of control… I opened a taxi door and offered a taxi driver my cigarette. I hugged a larger-than-life and not-too-friendly bouncer. I even hugged the international pop star Moby about three times. I felt liberated. On top of the world. In fact, my friends and I took the elevator to the rooftop of the Bowery Hotel (my little secret) and stared off at the lit skyscrapers. Our city: the city that continues to lose jobs, but also the city that still has hope for tomorrow.

I'm not one to say I know much about politics. But I do know sincerity. President Bush lied to us for the past eight years. He made fools out of America. He slept while young soldiers died for a greedy and horrific war. Senator McCain ran an awful campaign in which he'd do absolutely anything to get a vote, including choosing the incompetent and frightening Gov. Sara Palin as his VP. Again, similar to Bush, McCain perceived us as fools.

That we'd choose Palin because she was an attractive, young, "pitbull with lipstick," hockey mother, whose stylist just happens to be the highest paid person on the McCain team.

And then there's the pathetic, human-prop Joe the Plumber. Sure, they put up a good, if not, cruel, fight in their attempt to tear down Obama. But what do they have left now? Certainly not their dignity.

Maybe a few reality television shows for Palin and Joe the Plumber. (But I hope not for our sake and sanity!) Obama was sincere. Even Hillary, who about a year ago was the shoe-in Democrat nominee, acknowledged Barack's sincerity with her rather desperate attempt of a teary emotional slip (that, of course, was recorded and replayed over and over again). Republicans such as Colin Powell felt Barack's sincerity. And as a result of Barack being a human rather than the old, white politician, he is now the people's president.

Harriet Tubman once said about the slaves running for freedom (and aptly and SINCERELY used in Hillary Clinton’s speech supporting Barack).

If you hear the dogs, keep going.
If you see the torches in the woods, keep going.
If they’re shouting after you, keep going.
Don’t ever stop. Keep going.
If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.

Barack keeps us going. His message is so profound and speaks to everyone; that there are no limitations. And as Barack expressed in his transcendant acceptance speech, November 4, 2008 wasn’t just any ordinary day. It was, as Obama said, "the answer that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day."

Decision 2008

The Next Big Thing: Whether You Like Him Or Not
By Elis Estrada

It is not a secret that I voted for Senator Barack Obama. As a citizen of both the United States and Mexico, the daughter of a woman who witnessed and participated in movements during the Civil Rights Era, and a college student who will be more than $60,000 dollars in debt with loans at the year’s end, it is evident that for me, Barack Obama embodies the values and ideals that have shaped my past and will transform my future.

After two years of potential presidential candidates constantly communicating to the public their desires to strengthen and reunite our nation, eager voters throughout the US rose especially early Tuesday, November 4, 2008, in hopes of finally expressing their desires for needed change and unity in our country by casting votes for either presidential candidate—Republican Senator John McCain or Democratic Senator Barack Obama. In some states many had already taken advantage of early voting, wanting to make a statement as soon as they could.

As if you didn’t already know it, the 2008 Election was one for the history books—a historic day that glorified and restored an American ideal—change. On this day, the air was crisp and charged with an electric current that at the day’s end brought in our nation’s new President-Elect, Barack Obama. In a virtually seamless campaign, Obama consistently carried—with consideration—the weight of voters’ top concerns, including a dwindling economy.

Cassandra Neville, 21, college student and first time voter reacted to the news of the winning candidate: “He did it! He actually did it!”

Cassandra Neville (l) and Julie Nguyen watch election results

Instantly, the news of Obama’s victory reached almost every corner of the world and with it, a surge of elation for the immense progress that occurred overnight by citizens electing their first black President. Within minutes of the results being revealed, I received a celebratory phone call from my mother; with tears of joy and relief, she cried out, “I can’t believe it!”

This is the first presidential election that I have actively participated in and I feel as if I’ve made a difference. Although official results for voter turnouts have yet to be disclosed, CIVIC, a non-partisan research center studying youth civic engagement, reports the number of young voters is up at least 2.2 million from 2004.

In New York City, the monumental gatherings of diverse individuals in Times Square, Harlem and Rockefeller Plaza; the plethora of news coverage and up-to-date information on the states’ voting returns; and let’s not forget the thrill of seeing overcrowded polling stations—reinvigorated, at least for one night, American politics and its role in the lives of every American citizen.

Even though there is a large consensus of approval for Obama, not everyone voted for him. The President-Elect is now charged with the responsibility of change, and if he does not succeed—immediately or in time—our country may be in worse shape than it is now. We yearned for something different, and miraculously, we got it. Whether you voted for him or not, Barack Obama has started a movement for change and I am riding the wave—declaring a new beginning and renewing my goals and aspirations—because if he did it, so can I.

Decision 2008

This Is Only The Beginning
By Charlotte Price

It looked like it was going to rain throughout the day, but not a single downpour left the clouds in the sky on November 4, 2008. Like any other morning, I woke up, got dressed, ate breakfast, and joined the thousands of other New Yorkers making their daily commute to work.

On this day, however, there was something different. The tension and excitement in the air was so thick one could swim through the streets of New York City crowded by strangers’ faces holding on to something we had almost forgotten. They were holding on to a light of hope, and in hours they would know if Presidential candidate Barack Obama would be handed the chance to start the fire we have all been waiting for.

Jackets, T-shirts, scarves, and hats were littered with buttons showing a proud Obama next to his signature campaign words of “Hope” “Change” and “Yes We Can.” I was met by the worried faces of people who had stood by their country the past eight years feeling detached from government and helpless. As an American, they made their way to the polls and prayed that no matter what the outcome, the end of this day would be met with fairness and the voices of Americans would be heard.

More than 133 million people showed up to the polls. According to a New York Times article by Michael Falcone, “Between 21.6 and 23.9 million Americans in the age group from 18 to 29 years cast a ballot,” improving the youth turnout by over two million voters since 2004. At the end of the day, around 11 pm, America had spoken and I could hear his name being shouted from the streets.

Every news channel declared, “Barack Obama elected President” and according to, Obama won 349 electoral votes defeating Republican John McCain who had 163. Finally the clouds let go of a little moisture but I couldn’t tell if it was really rain, or the tears of the thousands of New Yorkers next to me screaming and crying because their hero had made it. In Harlem, Times Square, Rockefeller Plaza, Union Square, St. Marks Place, and little pockets all over of the city, people were rejoicing.

I raced backed into the city from Brooklyn and joined my dear friend Maureen McGowan in the Manhattan streets where strangers were hugging and kissing each other, taxi cabs were honking, musicians were singing Obama’s name, bars were declaring $1 drafts for election victory night, and thousands of faces with their tear filled eyes of hope marched through Manhattan shouting how wonderful it was to be alive on this historical day.

McGowan, a 21 year-old student at Marymount Manhattan College who raced home to New Jersey to vote for Obama looked to me and shouted, “We are going to tell our grand children about this day!”

The celebration went on until the early hours of the morning and the next day, and after only hours of sleep if any, people still carried their post election glows and I wondered if the night before had been a dream.

This election was a monumental moment in history. There were victories on so many levels. The first African-American was elected President, Sarah Palin will not be in a high-ranking governmental position, and a genuine man untainted by the greed and deception that politics can so easily bestow upon its participants is bravely standing up to the challenges that face our country.

Obama reminds us in his speech that we face a labyrinth of troubles, “Now, I know you didn't do this just to win an election, and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead.”

We are in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the great depression. We are in a war that drains not only our nation’s funds but also our morale and standing in the world. Education and health care are slipping through the cracks more and more each day, and drastic steps must be taken to save our environment.

Barack Obama cannot change this all on his own. This is a magnificent time when Americans can unite and through collaboration, bring about the changes we have wanted for so long.

Kirsten Harris, a 22 year-old Barack supporter from Indiana told me, “For the first time since I can remember, I am proud to be an American.”

Well, it is time to take that pride and individually do what we can to help our new President face these challenging times ahead of us. Barack Obama so eloquently stated that, “This victory alone is not the change we seek; it is only the chance for us to make that change.”

On November 4, 2008, from the moment I left my Brooklyn apartment to those life changing seconds when Barack Obama was elected the President of the United States, I knew I would remember this day for the rest of my life. Now it is time to make every day for the next four years, and for as long as we can, live up to expectations we set on election Day.

It was an amazing victory, but this is only the beginning!

Decision 2008

The People Have Spoken
By Eric Meron

On January 20, 2009 change will arrive. The people of the United States have spoken and they have spoken loudly, by voting Barack Obama the next President of the United States.

Tuesday night was an historic night, not only did Obama win, but he won big. But that was not the reason it was historic. The best part of the evening was that Obama’s race was not the lead story. Obama becoming the first black President is a huge milestone and is not to be downplayed, but it was wonderful to see people of all ages and races get behind someone who they believed in.

This election was about the people and not the candidates. In the past it seemed as if the candidates would say look at what I will do, but this time they were saying look what I will do for you. We saw a candidate in Barack Obama that came off as someone who we could identify with and trust.

An interesting thing took place last night after Obama was declared President Elect. John McCain gave his concession speech and for those of us who did not vote for the man we got to see a side of him that was absent during his campaign. He was humble and showed great respect for Obama as well as his tremendous love for his country.

McCain used so many negative ads and used a smear campaign to a point where people lost the true vision of who this man was. If he had used more of this side of himself as opposed to the negative ads he may have even won the election.

The Obama acceptance speech was one for the ages. He spoke eloquently and brought a sense of hope that all of the voters were yearning for. During the speech all of the networks were showing images of the people from different parts of the country watching Obama as he spoke. What we saw was awe and respect, two things that this country has not seen when its past President was speaking. You could see in their faces that they believed.

It was overtly obvious that the people who voted for Obama were so very different than those who voted for McCain. When McCain mentioned Obama’s name in his speech the crowd booed and needed to be quieted down. When Obama mention McCain the polar opposite happened. People clapped to congratulate him on his run for the Presidency. This was the change in politics Obama spoke about.

This will hopefully be an election that changes the way our people operate forever. We began to realize that the parties are not important, but the people are. Oprah Winfrey spoke about how Chicago was vibrating the entire day. The polls show that the country was vibrating for an entire day.

The people were told they had a voice in this country and on November 4th they screamed at the top of their lungs. We will not be stuck in the past. A black man can be President and a Republican can vote Democrat and people can come together to share a single goal of making our country and the world a better place.

It’s time for a change and we, the people, need to learn and grow from this experience. Can we make a difference?


Decision 2008

A Change In People, Not Just Policy
By Mark Galarrita

Every American citizen of legal age is given the right to vote. It is the solemn right and duty of each citizen to choose who they want to lead their country and their local government.

But when you’re in college, or even in high school, those privileges are the last thing on your mind. Students feel the need to place friends, parties, and hobbies, and yes, even homework above the right to vote and other civic duties. Some students are even so used to things the way they are that they become skeptical or cynical, and feel that their voice and opinion is not worth their time and effort.

That all changed Tuesday, November 4, 2008.

The presidential election of 2008, for all of the bitter debates and the highly publicized election coverage, has shown one thing to the American people. Hope of action. I have never seen a more active group of young peers in my life. I am even more surprised by the overwhelming number of adults and elderly in New York City who were exuberant about voting this year.

I remember in 8th-grade talking to high school students who just didn’t care, or knew too little about politics. The only students who did know, or cared about government were mainly on the honor roll, and they seemed to stick their noses up at those who knew too little.

It’s different now, and I hope it stays that way. Rarely in the last decade have so many young Americans come together to make their voices heard. Whether it was for a Democrat, a Republican, or another party, many young people had opinions on the candidates. More importantly, they voiced those opinions loudly.

Jason Marrero, a 29 year-old Marymount student, said one thing the day after the election that may sum up the effect this election has had on the American people. “I can believe in hope,” Marrero says when asked what the election means to him. “I can look my daughter in the eye and tell her, you too can be president. And I wouldn’t have to have any thoughts of racism or prejudgment in my mind. She too, can believe.”

In my previous article, “Marymount Students Say They’re Planning To Vote,” I conducted a poll on the Marymount Manhattan College campus, analyzing whether students would vote, and who they would vote. The results showed that of the 167 students polled, 124 said they would vote.

The survey was conducted nearly a month before the election and showed that Marymount students were more focused on the election than I had predicted. I was surprised that a majority of people interviewed had a lot to say.

Students picked Obama for his stance on many issues such as international policy, the economy and even national health care to name a few. Even though the survey was small, I believe those are the same ethics and principals that many Americans wanted when they picked the new president.

This election was the first in which I was able to vote, and certainly will not be my last. It is my hope that we as a people do not forget the drive and energy we feel for politics this day. Americans both young and old should be informed on their local and national governments, and be able to make decisions on their own and decide what direction they want their country to take. I believe that the fervor created by the Barack Obama and John McCain campaigns instilled a drive in us to be better informed about how the government affects our lives.

With Obama as the presidential elect, the future seems clear but uncertain. Policies will change the day Obama takes office as his Democratic party also takes control of Congress.

No longer will we just be Americans, but instead united American citizens. Not since the tragedy of 9/11 have we as a nation stood together, ready for a new hope in our lives. How the first black president will do in office has yet to be determined, but his policies to guide our nation will affect us all.

Decision 2008

Is It Time For A Change?
By Sammi Richardson

I’ve never been interested in politics. I have always heard casual political chatter around me but never chose to participate for fear of saying the wrong thing. I’d hear bits and pieces of the debates and listen to the news, but chose to stay out of the hype.

But Barack Obama has been projected as the new President of the United States. I believe this will affect me in a positive way. Obama intends to lower health care costs and make health insurance affordable and accessible for all. This will affect me, as my family has had to pay for our own health insurance for the past year and a half. It will also help others afford insurance, lower medical costs, and get the treatment and medicines they need.

I felt that this election was very important. It is the first election in the history of the United States where an African-American man has gotten a major party’s nomination for President. People have mixed feelings about this Democratic idea. Some are for it, and some truly are opposed to it. I believe it is based on racial discrimination and not the ability of the candidate.

For me, I believe it should be about whether Obama is the man that can turn our failing economy around and not the color of his skin. I find it odd that he is referred to as African-American when his mother was Caucasian and she and her parents raised him. I also believe his victory will truly show that America is the land of opportunity.

I believe that Barack Obama will lead our country on the right path. He has plans to strengthen the economy, improve fair trade, invest in the manufacturing sector, and help America succeed in a positive way. He wants to bring our troops back home and end a war I believe cost billions of dollars and countless lives. I feel that if Obama is elected President, it will change the world for the better and improve the quality of life for many people.

Some people were concerned for our country’s future if John McCain had won the election. I spoke with many people who do not agree with his Republican views. They believe it is a woman’s choice whether to end an unwanted pregnancy. He proposed to have employees taxed on health insurance their employers provide. I do not want to be taxed on the benefits I receive.

People also feared for the country if John McCain dies while in office and Sarah Palin becomes President. John McCain is 72 years old. Some think that Palin is unqualified and would severely affect the nation with her ideas. She is inexperienced and was governor of one of the smallest states in the country. In addition, she is the mother of five children. I believe it is too hard to balance raising young children one of whom has special needs and perform the hardest job in the country.

In less than two years I will graduate college and start a real career. I will seek employment and believe more job opportunities will exist. Obama has given me hope and inspiration to go for your dreams and never give up.

Monday, November 10, 2008

College Stress

Read This Book, Really
By Alex Catarinella

Many people associate college with heavy drinking. And they’re right. If you’ve never experienced a kegger party, you probably didn’t go to college. And if you did, then your college is quite exceptional. Regardless if the college is a huge state party school or a small liberal arts college, or whether the student is on dean’s list or on the verge of dropping out, drinking is universal.

Sure, there’s the dry dorm and the dry campus, but when students are thirsty, they’ll find a way to get their drink on. But, sometimes heavy drinking is a result of stress, depression, and more. The culprit is the demands of being a young, 20-something student. Times are tough. We’re broke. There are no jobs. What a great time for students to graduate. But I insist, you can set aside the Bud Light and Marlboro Light and still feel alright.

No, I’m not suggesting taking yoga classes or opting for Scientology. But, I do suggest following a few certain guidelines. They’re pretty obvious. And the answers are in a book I discovered. Now, I detest self help books. They’re cringe-worthy. And shouldn’t 10 self-help books suffice? Now there are enormous self-help sections at Borders covering every thing imaginable. How to raise a puppy. How to dress cool. How to blog. How to love yourself. Ick! Really, these books are presumptuous and preachy. Who are these all-knowing, I–can-save-your-life authors anyway?

But, I will bite my tongue for this modest and rather inspiring little book. Don Miguel Ruiz’s “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom.” And it’s actually an easy and quick read. The agreements are so simple and go like this:

Be Impeccable With Your Words
Don't Take Anything Personally
Don't Make Assumptions
Always Do Your Best

If you’re always honest, you have nothing to hide. You’re saying only what you mean. You’re avoiding gossip and the negative poison of others. Speak with love and truth, not with hate. Save the drama for Gossip Girl and “reality” TV.

If you never take anything personally, you are immune to the negative energy of others. Sure, if your lover cheats on you, it hurts. But, don’t take it personally. He or she probably didn’t do it to intentionally hurt you. We never really know what’s going on in others lives. Nothing others do is because of you.

Don’t make assumptions. It’s silly. Ask questions. Speak with integrity. Communicate, people! If you do, you’ll avoid the miscommunication that causes drama, sadness and all things ugly. Don’t assume someone you’re crushing on didn’t call you because they’re not into you. Ask! Be courageous. Really, what is there to lose?

Even if you have Senioritis, do your best on the most simple of assignments. Don’t settle for an A- when you know you can get an A+. How can you feel guilty if you did your best?

This should be the only self-help book. I’m not getting paid to promote this book nor do I religiously follow these agreements. But the agreements are practical and pretty obvious. And they make so much sense, when you really think about it. So, write these on your hand or add them to your Blackberry. And when you’re feeling a bit stressed, save money on the booze and tell yourself these four little stress-relievers. They sure beat those awkward and painful yoga positions.

College Stress

More Money, More Problems
But I’m just too broke to buy that expression
By Megan Biscieglia

The most stressful thing about being a college student is being constantly broke. On any given day, I might have between 76 cents and $300 in my checking account. When it’s the later scenario, I feel rich. It’s impossible to be financially stable when I have to balance my work schedule with a class schedule, home work schedule, internship schedule, and maybe if I’m lucky a few minutes to spend with friends.

I would like to know where the colleges seen in movies are; the ones where students are seen partying day and night, usually in their underwear, carefree drinking beer from a bottle, smoking mass amounts of marijuana, and eating Percocet like it’s candy. It’s so unrealistic--bottled beer is way out of budget for a college student.

If these are the best years of our lives, we’re all in for one hell of a life, literally. Stress consumes my every cell during every moment. I have nightmares about seeing negative signs on my bank account statements, which has happened more times than I’d like to mention.

It’s not that students have bad money managing skills. It’s just that we don’t have any money to manage in the first place. I’m on a very strict budget that I rarely exceed. But there just aren’t enough hours in the day to make the kind of cash to make one feel content.

It’s the end of the month which means rent is almost due. It’s also the middle of the semester which means midterms. We’re also in the middle of an economic crisis, which means I got laid off from my job and currently have zero dollars coming in. The stress makes me dizzy.

The positive side to me feeling this stress now is that if I do turn out to be a complete failure I don’t think it will be all that bad. At least I’ll have time! For example, a server at a restaurant is a perfectly respectable job. My mother is one.

However, since I have had the pleasure of receiving a four year college degree some people might view that as a come down. What is there to do about it? I say wait it out, try to do well in school and graduate knowing that even if I am a waitress for the rest of my life, at least I’ll have time for my friends and won’t have homework.

College Stress

Stress In The City
By Jordan Price

The “Sex and the City” theme song blasts as an alarm from my cell phone at promptly 7:00 am Tuesday mornings. I muster enough energy to get myself out of my bed and begin getting ready for my 8:30 class, located on the Upper East Side in New York City. I am tired, have been up all night writing a paper, and the only voice that I hear in my head is a taunting and tempting “Go back to sleep…”

The apartment building provided by my college, Marymount Manhattan College, is located on Roosevelt Island, yes, the “Tram” island. I wait outside in the freezing cold for the “little red bus” that will take me to the tram. After the five minute bus ride, it is time to soar across the sky in the Roosevelt Island Tram car, which takes me to 60th street, where I begin my walk to school.

Whew. That’s quite the commute for simply getting to class. I sometimes wonder, why didn’t I choose to go to school in my home state of Pennsylvania where a majority of my fellow high school graduates attend college, including my boyfriend and best friends. Wouldn’t life be so much less stressful?

Imagine, rolling out of bed, throwing on some sweats, where unlike “trendy” New York City, everyone keeps as a staple outfit for most days, and walk a few minutes to the next building across a large, beautiful lawn for class. A commute of about five minutes tops! But wait, stop! Snap back to reality! You’re in the stress capital of the world, NYC, so get with the program! And although life would be a lot less stressful, there is some energy on this island that keeps New Yorkers alive and thriving, despite the greatest stresses.

According to the University of Florida Counseling Center, stress can be dealt with by consistently practicing some methods to help with our worst, stressed out moments. A balance of organization, reliable outlets to vent off your steam to, keeping a positive outlook, and practicing relaxation techniques can all help keep our frustrations at bay.

Now as a college student, one may think, I have five courses a week, work, a social life, and extra-curricular activities to master! How on earth am I supposed to add relaxation techniques when my roommate is blasting hardcore metal music in the background? A positive outlook when the F train is under construction and I’m bound to be late for my 7:15 pm class? It is these little, tedious moments where stress seeps in and forms a bubble around us, that sometimes, seems impossible to pop.

But, I suppose we chose to be New Yorkers, we chose to further our education in the crazy, but exciting Big Apple. So, if we would like to reduce our stress, we can choose to find time and effort to practice some sacred “me” time to help ease our troubles and fight that annoying little thing called stress, if only for five minutes, if that is all we can manage. These little tips can help keep stress at a reasonable level and keep us a little happier, if only until the next 7:00 am “Sex and the City” wake up call.

College Stress

Walking The College High Wire
By Eric Meron

Standing high above the center ring on a platform the performer takes a deep breath before stepping out to journey across the tiny metal wire stretched out in front of him. There is no need to look down because he knows there is no net to catch him if he falls.

Some may say the stress the performer is feeling during his walk is felt by all college students at sometime during their college career. Like the high wire performer the students need to balance their social life and their school obligations.

The key thing to remember is that everyone is experiencing stress on one level or another. Do not think you are alone or that no one can understand how you feel because not everyone experiences stress in the same way. What one person feels is stressful another may feel is trivial.

No one will ever go through college without stress, so since we cannot complete eliminate it we should learn how to deal with it. Each individual needs to find their own way to deal with stress.

The University of Florida Counseling Center lists several ways to relieve stress and there are two that I believe to be the most effective for the widest margin of people.

The first method is just taking a walk. Remove yourself from the situation and just clear your head. Go get a cup of coffee or ice cream. Do something that makes you feel good. Since we go to school in New York City we have a abundance of things within walking distance of wherever you live.

The second method the center mentions is music. We all know how music effects our mood, but I think we do the opposite of what we should . When we are sad we listen to depressing songs that contain depressing lyrics. I think we need to listen to uplifting music that makes us feel good. Put on the song that makes you smile and sing out loud. Turn up the volume and sing away the stress. New York is such an amazing place you just put in your ear buds and just stroll around the city to your personal soundtrack. You are in the greatest city on earth where anything can happen and you should feel that way.

One last method is one that I use. Just do something that makes you laugh or smile no matter what you feel beforehand. I have watched a funny movie or comedy routine. I like sports so watching a game helps me.

Keep things in perspective. A midterm, final or paper is not the end of the world. The trick is in the planning. Most students do not leave themselves enough time to prepare or write. No one is saying you cannot have a social life. Just do not extend yourself so much socially that it was cause an enormous amount of stress during the semester.

Stress is as much a part of college as studying and exams. Learning how to deal with it and making sure not to put yourself on a worse situation by overextending yourself socially. Remember we are here to get an education and pave the way for our future.

Laugh, smile and have a drink. We all know that method works.

College Stress

Stress: A Daily Part Of My Life
By Sammi Richardson

It’s 11:30 pm on a Sunday night. I have to be up in exactly six hours, much to the obliviousness of my roommates as they continue to talk into the night. Monday brings an 8:30 AM class, a presentation due that morning, work, and more homework to complete when I get home. Oh joy. Stressful? Exhausting? Lack of sleep? Welcome to my world!

Going to college is very stressful. Deadlines for multiple assignments at the same time, midterms to study for, and don’t forget having to write a 10 page paper in less than a week. Try dealing with all of that and attempting to fit in a social life at the same time. And add to that the financial stress of all the expenses of living in a big city that is Manhattan.

I grew up an only child in a small town in North Carolina for the first 17 years of my life. I then moved to another small town in Maryland, and to a new city that was overwhelmingly large. I had to now deal with living with roommates, making new friends, avoiding a large credit card bill from all of the fabulous shopping opportunities, and learning my way around. Add to all of this balancing five classes and trying to maintain a 3.0 GPA.

Stress can be positive when managed in a proper way. It can give us the motivation to accomplish our assignments on time, and provide that extra boost in studying for that difficult final exam. Stress is a problem when it engulfs your entire life. Then you know you have a problem.

According to the University of Florida Counseling Center, although some stress reactions are part of deep and serious emotional problems, many are manageable and can be handled by a few different relaxation techniques. These include recognizing your role in stress reactions, developing a balanced life-style, learning specific relaxation techniques like yoga and meditating, gaining perspective on your problems, and clarifying your values and beliefs in order to get in touch with your inner-self.

Stress can be seen in different ways for various people. Some overeat, exercise excessively, and some choose to do nothing but lay on the couch and vegetate while trying to forget their stressful lives. It is different for everyone.

For me, I cannot do anything that will make me forget what it is that is making me stressed in the first place. I am an excessive worrier. I attempt to face whatever it is that is causing my stress and address it. If I ignore it, I become more stressed in the end. Therefore, in order to reduce my stress, I try to complete my assignments as soon as I receive them and do not procrastinate.

I am a junior in college, and sometimes I wonder how I got to this point. I have been more stressed and mentally and physically tired in these three years of my life than I’ve ever been before. Deadlines loomed above me, disturbing amounts of assignments beckoned to be completed, and endless amounts of articles to be read. In addition, I have ADHD and a learning disability in math. I had to take three math classes, go for tutoring, and miraculously passed them by my sophomore year. It’s a wonder I made it through alive!

Stress gives you that extra push to get through it all. Eventually you will graduate and leave the college stress behind. In exchange you will have “The Real World” stress. This may seem light years away to you at this point. I wonder if I will yearn to be back in college then.

Just remember, take it all in slowly, take deep breaths, and you will get through it. It’s not that bad. I promise.

College Stress

Stress As The Great Stimulator
By Kasey Ryan

Will I ever finish school? Will someone ever hire me? How can I have time to gain experience for a future job through an internship that doesn’t pay? How do I go about auditioning and setting out to accomplish my dream of being an actress when school and work leave me exhausted to tears and take up the majority of my days? What if I’m alone for the rest of my life because I never have time to go out and meet new people? Will I end up like those old ladies who live alone with no husband or family and friends, and all they have is their cat?

These are just a few of the current stress-related thoughts whirling around in that complicated head of mine. The stress and anxiety these questions bring me is unbearable. And while they may seem simple to others, the constant need to analyze every little detail about my future and how I can accomplish everything I want, and to and look good while doing it leaves me more exhausted than school and work combined.

Is all this stress really beneficial in any way? I would normally say no. I mean, how can these thoughts racing around in your head that often keep you up until 5 am be anything but harmful? Well, apparently, stress can be beneficial. According to the counseling center at the University of Florida, to have some form of stress is healthy and can even be good for you. It can leave you stimulated and save you from the everyday mundane, boring life that we would otherwise have. Well then, I must be the most stimulated person on the planet because the amount of stress I experience is massive!

Although I experience a lot of stress and anxiety, my biggest issue is learning how to deal with it. The counseling center also gave some tips on this and I was happy to see that discussing your problems and worries can help minimize the stress they bring you, because that is what I often do. Venting is a great way to voice what is causing you so much stress, because sometimes, even I don’t know what I am so stressed about until I try to put it into words for someone else. This usually gives me a greater and deeper understanding of what is bothering me.

Also, if you have great friends like me that listen to you vent, they can usually help give you solutions or advice on how to fix the problem that keeps you so “stimulated!”

Monday, October 27, 2008

College Stress

College Is Easy, Stress Is Hard
By Elis Estrada

You want me to stay, what, longer? This is the question I pathetically repeat to my boss at my third job of the day. Forget about my exhausting day and that I still have two five page papers due; work at two out of my three jobs; classes; and the largest (at least in my mind) laundry list of things to do, all within the next 24 hours. I can’t say no, I need the money. This certifies as being stressful, right?

The overprotected and over managed members of Generation Y are experts in the field of stress. With so many things to do, so many possible options, and increasing financial worries, it is no wonder college life has become a bursting bubble of never-ending stress. According to the University of Florida Counseling Center, “The competition for grades, the need to perform, relationships, fear of AIDS, career choice, and many other aspects of the college environment cause stress.”

Everyone has stress, it is actually considered a healthy motivational tool, but stress grips college age students differently than other age groups. Students would find college easier and more fulfilling if they only had to focus on their classes. Unfortunately college is also about learning how to live in the real world, and that’s hard.

Going to college in New York City, the global Mecca of news, finance, art, and culture, causes students to think more is expected of them. I know I want to take advantage of every opportunity the city offers me; therefore, I feel obligated to do as much as I can.

Also, the city is not cheap, and just the thought of paying rent, food, and transportation can cause an anxiety attack. Finding independence comes at a price, the price of freedom. Working at school, at a retail store, as an assistant at a banking firm, and having an internship plus attending classes full time gives me limited freedom to do what I want, and that stresses me out.

As an emotional person, the mere thought of running around with no end in sight makes me exhibit emotional symptoms of stress, including and not limited to irritability, anger, fear or anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, and mood swings. Managing stress is essential; the Counseling Center at the University of Florida believes effective time management can help create a balanced lifestyle and turn stress from a sore pain into a helpful agent.

The right balance of sleep, food, and work alleviate the stress of having to do so many things at the same time. Even though a balanced diet and exercise is necessary, my stress levels decrease significantly after a good night’s rest.

Besides sleeping, finding a method of relaxation to escape the real world is beneficial. Even if you do not have time to quietly sit for 15 minutes, you can find something that eases your mind about making choices. For me, coffee, a popular legal stimulant for college students, simultaneously relaxes and energizes me to focus on the task at hand. For others, music, exercising, or even comedy can help to clarify the mind. However, there is nothing like sitting in a trendy coffeehouse, sipping a piping hot cup of coffee to reinvigorate my mind and body.

Stress is a fact of life that affects people in different ways. To become successful citizens, we choose to take on a significant amount of stress to achieve the goals that we deem worth attaining. Staying longer at work and worrying about having enough time to finish papers and hang out with friends is a choice. Hopefully, the stress that is painful in the moment will transcend into a source of pleasure after a job well done.