Monday, March 24, 2008

College Stress

When Stress Gets “Dirty”
By Amber Gray

No, No, No. No way. I am not stressed. I am only on my third midterm today, getting it done with no food in my stomach and two hours of sleep. Also, thanks to our flawless Marymount Manhattan residential life, I turned on the shower this morning to a heavy beating of ice cold water on my back.

I am un-showered, sitting here, pondering why my roommate just told me our room smells bad. I guess it could be me, since on top of being un-showered, my laundry is sprawled all over the floor and may be the source because I haven’t done it in almost two weeks.

I want to know who has time in their day to do laundry anyway? I’ll put my stress and my lack of clean hygiene aside. I’m also freaking out because my ex-boyfriend, who I am still hopelessly in love with, is away partying all weekend, surrounded by tons of girls. Meanwhile, I’m sitting here, Miss Stinky, typing about how stressed I am.

I do want to assure you that I normally do shower, brush my teeth twice a day, wear deodorant, and wear clean clothes so don’t fear sitting behind me in class or feel obligated to whip out a stick of gum in my direction anytime soon. Yet, with the stress of midterms and finding time to study for them when I have to be at work until 10 p.m. every night makes the everyday routine too much to handle. The University of Florida Counseling Center states that “the right balance of sleep, food, exercise, work, school, and recreation is crucial.”

Balance between work and school? At my last job in retail, I was kept there until 3 a.m. some nights. I believe there is some unwritten rule that your job isn’t supposed to take precedence over school work. Oh, but mine did. Exercising would be a dream for me, but I’m too busy exercising my eyelids to stay open at 4 a.m. when I’m reading 50 pages for some pointless class I will never remember anyway.

And what college student has the time to sit down and eat a meal? We can’t even afford a meal, nor do we have time. I have three classes in a row from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. with measly 10 minute breaks in-between to get food. Unfortunately, I don’t even bother just to save myself from the bitching and moaning from my teachers for being a minute late. My common catchphrase in recent days has become “Eh, I guess I don’t need to eat today.”

Yet, keeping a positive attitude is important according to the Counseling Center. “The way you think affects how you respond. Negative self-talk, catastrophizing, and perfectionism all contribute to increased stress.” Well I guess I don’t contribute to the cause then. I have become the biggest Debby Downer ever.

Yet, when I try to be positive, even more stress just strolls along my way. For example, not being able to get into my dorm because the room key has stopped working, or getting an angry phone call from Mom yelling at me to come home on Easter, but my job needs me to work. Or finding that I have $6 dollars in my checking account and a $900 dollar credit card balance from all of the expenses of living in this love-to- hate; hate-to-love city.

I’m hoping the stress I have will eventually move onto someone else. Right now, I’m just too stuck in the routine of life and just focusing on getting everything done. At this stage in life, I have yet to find that inspiration that drives me. The Counseling Center 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.”

I am hoping this will become true in the near future. For now, I will just stick to worrying about when my next shower will be.

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