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.

No comments: