Monday, October 27, 2008

College Stress

I Stress, Therefore I Am (A College Student)
By Charlotte Price

You’re running late and your train decides to start making local stops. You stayed up all night writing an unfinished paper you have to turn in at noon and you have forgotten to eat both breakfast and lunch. All of sudden you sit up and your back is killing you, your head is about to explode, and you are sure your blood pressure is reaching dangerous heights. Every college student has been here.

Everyone handles these situations differently whether you’re a walker, a screamer, or one of those deep breathers. And if there is something I am sure everyone in school can agree with, it is that life would be so much better if we could just get rid of stress.

Where is that magic pill that safely whisks it away and allows us to get back to our everyday lives? I’ve searched the shelves and it just isn’t there, so unfortunately I find myself constantly stressing. You name it and I have stressed about it. I stress about being stressed. The even bigger kicker is when I stress about NOT being stressed, and who can fix that?

When I find myself in this horrible moment, when all the blood rushes to my cheeks and I am sure that life will end that very moment if I do not make some deadline, not miss some meeting, or fret about some random responsibility life has thrown my way, I can’t stop hearing my mother’s voice in the back of my head: “This is not the end of the world, and you need to get over yourself.”

As much as I love my mother I certainly hate those words of advice. However, they have always proven to ring true in the recesses of my worried mind.

At the end of the day I always manage to get everything done and the things that I can’t control, such as the train’s dispatcher deciding out of the 100 F trains running that day that mine will stop at each stop for 10 minutes, seem like vague memories at the dimming of the day. If I could just sit back in my moments of despair and realize that life’s never ending rhyme and rhythm will continue the next day and the next even if I miss a deadline, then I would have life’s biggest enemy conquered.

I have come to accept that there will be stress in my life, but over the years, especially as a college student I have found ways to fight it. The first, as I have mentioned, is to realize it’s not the end of the world. The second is treat myself, body and soul, like a healthy human being. According to the University of Florida Counseling Center, “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.”

While I know as well as the next student that Top Ramen and four hours of sleep is inevitable at some point throughout a college career, it doesn’t mean that it should become a standard of living that we pursue for four straight years. In fact, it doesn’t take much to eat fruits and vegetables on a college time frame and budget. Also, if possible, I try to limit my night life adventures to the weekend and get a good amount of sleep Monday through Friday.

If all else fails of course, listen to my mother. “It’s not the end of the world. Get over yourself.”

But let’s scratch that whole get over yourself part and maybe replace it with a more empathetic response like, “take care of yourself!”

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