Monday, March 24, 2008

College Stress

The Best Years Of Your Life
By Alexa Breslin

I’ve heard it said many times before, enjoy high school – those are the best four years of your life. I can remember standing on stage as I received my diploma knowing all those people were wrong. I read in my cards marked “Congratulations,” good luck in college, they would say, enjoy it while it lasts, those are the best four years of your life. I’m only a junior, but I’m still not so sure.

As a 20 year-old, I may be a little biased; however I would have to state with reason that the high school and college years have to be the most stressful of our lives. As a young adult you’re out there, you’re on your own trying as hard as you can to just hang on. You’re hoping for the best and preparing for the worst but nothing ever seems to go as you want it to.

For the rest of our lives we will encounter many situations that will stress us out more than we believe we can handle. Although it may frequently seem there is nothing worse than getting a 70 on a test we studied hours for, or spilling coffee you’re drinking to keep you awake to study all over a brand new sweater you worked hours to buy, there are much worse things. For us, this is only the beginning.

Nonetheless, no matter how many times I tell myself this is only the beginning of stress to come, it doesn’t appear to ease my mind. As I lay down every night to go to sleep, not only do I have the list of the following day’s tasks running though my head, I have the never-ending list of the coming years tasks in there as well.

Those of us in college will eventually graduate; we will eventually live on our own, if we aren’t already. Some of us will move on and get married and have children and as exciting as it is, the anticipation doesn’t make it any less stressful, in fact it may make us feel more stress as we sit at the margin of a comfortable past and an unpredictable future waiting.

I’ve seen stress come in all forms. I’ve seen it in my mother as she popped two Advil after a long day at work. I’ve seen it in my friends as we were juniors and seniors in high school, vigorously visiting different colleges trying to decide which one would be best for us to embark our journey toward adulthood.

Wondering all the while if we were good enough to be accepted, and if we weren’t – then what? I’ve seen it in myself when I moved to New York City at the ripe age of 17. I’ve seen it more times than I would like to recall.

It comes in small sizes, such as math tests, essays, a never-ending pile of homework. And sometimes it grows larger when a simple part of daily life such as eating becomes a chore, when getting out of bed in the morning is the hardest part of your day. These things come in the form of an eating disorder, depression, and anxiety. Something young adults go through everyday, and some of them never say a word to anyone about the daily battle they are facing within themselves.

As human beings, stress is something we will most likely have to deal with for the entirety of our existence. Maybe the best any of us can do is not quit, keep on going, and tell ourselves the best years of our life are yet to come.

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