Thursday, November 02, 2006

Problem: Stress - Solution: Cult
By Lianne Turner

I know that as a college student I am faced with daily pressures such as homework, my job, and constant fear of AIDS. These pressures often build up to an unbearable point that can cause all sorts of nasty symptoms such as ulcers, irritability, and even paranoid schizophrenia. When life gets me down, I turn to my friends, meditation, and of course, an organized religion.

Note sarcasm here. The University of Florida Counseling Center would like to offer you a simple set of solutions to getting over your daily stress problem. “Develop a balanced lifestyle”, “gain perspective by discussing problems”, “specific relaxation techniques”, and “clarify your values and develop a sense of life meaning” are all possibilities they offer in order to rid yourself of all the excessive stress you may be experiencing from college life. Is it just me, or is this starting to sound like a brochure for some creepy rehab center? I’m a college student, not an addict. I’ll go on.

Possible sources of stress may include: the environment, the physiological, your thoughts, and social stressors. All of which could be solved in one easy step. Just sign this declaration of your faith that says all your personal belongings are now part of the program’s assets and your problems will be gone forever. Along with your life in the outside world. The mothership will be coming to collect us all in 13 billion years.

Of course, some of the information the University of Florida Counseling Center provides is valuable. Examples of this would be things like eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, manage your time wisely, that sort of thing. All of these things could easily be solved by…an instructor, say? A 24/7 counselor perhaps? Someone who could micromanage your life for you, so you don’t have to. Bingo. Doesn’t it seem oddly convenient that, “The Counseling Center, as well as various other campus agencies, offer stress management groups,” yet “These techniques [are] easy to learn, but can be difficult to fit into your schedule”? I’ll bet this counseling center has a solution to that. Round the clock stress watch in their intensive care facility, where you have no worries at all, and are allowed to meditate as you please.

“Stress is often caused by general unhappiness and a sense of aimlessness or lack of purpose. People sometimes wind up making choices and living life styles that really don't fit them.” Here at the UFCC, we can help. We’ll tell you exactly what you want to be, and why. No decision, no problem! Join us in our quest for eternal salvation and we’ll throw in this complementary grey sweatsuit. Wear it every day.

In all seriousness, excessive stress is a problem that no college student will deny. We’ve all been plagued with multiple paper overload or procrastination regret, and the resulting consequences are usually devastating to our diets, sleep schedules, and the ears of anyone who will listen. If you’ve learned anything from the University of Florida Counseling Center and me, learn this. Do what feels right for your body and your mind, and don’t overload. If it’s too much, take a break and relax once in a while. You’ll regret it if you don’t. And you might end up joining a cult

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