Monday, March 30, 2009

College Stress

Are You Stressed, Really?
By Adriana Lorenzo

It’s rumored to cause the growth of grey hairs. It can lead to migraines, backaches, overeating and under eating. As a society we have given the six-letter word, stress, way too much power. There are even ridiculous variations of the word to more specifically diagnose our feelings. We can be in distress, have hyper-stress or even chronic stress.

The word has become such a major part of our vocabulary that I question if we even truly know how it feels to be stressed.

I woke up this morning immediately feeling stressed. I had overslept a bit and needed to take the Roosevelt Island red bus, then the tram, and then a bus up Second Avenue to get to my internship by 9 a.m. I knew I would be working extremely hard all day, only to get home and work on homework for school.

I was sent out on an errand in Queens at the end of my day, and unfortunately had chosen to wear the wrong shoes that were very uncomfortable. As my feet throbbed and I hobbled back to work, I kept thinking, “what a stressful day!”

As I think back on my day now, I realize how non-stressful my stress actually was. I am fortunate enough to have a job and the opportunity to pursue an education. Yes, I was wearing shoes that made my feet feel like they had knives in them, but I had shoes on my feet didn’t I? As a society facing huge issues like a recession and a change in power, we are claiming to stress over the most absurd things.

Flights are delayed 30 minutes and we are seen huffing and puffing, calling our relatives or friends to complain. Is the ability to sit in a chair and fly not enough of a magnificent invention to wait 30 minute for? An Internet page does not load immediately in three seconds and we slam our fists on our desks. The guys or girls we are dating don’t return our calls and we feel our lives are over. The barista at Starbucks hands us the wrong coffee and we feel our whole day is starting off wrong.

We have become so used to instant gratification that I think we are in fact just lazy or impatient most of the time instead of stressed. If we do not get what we want, when we want it, we feel stressed.

There is evidence everywhere that stress is contagious. If a friend rants to us about their stressful day, we feel the need to reciprocate and state all the “traumatic” occurrences of our day. We seem to always want to one-up each other with our workload, our school loads, and even our laundry loads.

According to the University of Florida Counseling Center, the way we stress may have an impact on our relationships with others. Stress is so negative, so why are we always talking about it and giving it such importance?

Don’t get me wrong. I realize there are major issues everywhere that are definitely stress-worthy. I feel we need to redefine what exactly stress is and what is stressful. Losing jobs, a lengthy war, a sick child or bills that are piling up all are definitely worthy of the six-letter word.

As the title of the popular book implies, we need to stop sweating the small stuff. Once we do, the word stress will seem so far off and distant we won’t even remember the last time we felt it.

Now isn’t that relaxing?

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