By Thomas Ford
I always hear of my friends and classmates complaining about stress. They’re stressed about homework. They’re stressed about boyfriends and girlfriends. They’re stressed about just about anything and everything that interferes with what they want to do. And all I want to do is tell them to wake up.
I think that we, as a generation, tend to forget that a lot of times what we want to do cannot always be our first priority. We have to complete all of the grunt work, all of the things we don’t want to do but need to do, in order to prepare ourselves for what we ultimately want to accomplish.
I think I have to thank my love for dance and life as a dancer for that very discipline it has instilled in me. Never did I ever imagine that I would be doing commercials for FOX and UPN, performing at the Lincoln Center and Kennedy Center, touring the country or becoming Rihanna’s choreographer’s demonstrator, when I was sitting in a dance studio sweaty and exhausted.
Sure, it was stressful. I was dancing close to fifty hours a week, in Honors and AP classes, a board member of several clubs, and teaching and choreographing dance on top of all of that. But the fact that I loved it more than anything else is what helped me to get through it and what reassured me that there was light at the end of the tunnel as long as I strived for it.
That may be the key to dealing with stress: finding something you love and sticking to it. Though it is impossible to eradicate stress from one’s life completely, and according to the University of Florida Counseling Center, some stress is good and stimulating, I think when stress is involved with something we love to do, we don’t look at it in a negative light. We look at it as progress. We look at it as something we must do to get what we want. We look at it as what is going to make us the best at what we want to be.
I did not mind putting so much of my life in to what I loved to do because I knew that it was what made me happy. You begin to appreciate the amount of work you are putting into whatever you love to do because you realize that it is only going to make you better in the long haul.
My advice in a nutshell: do what you love. The University of Florida Counseling Center says, “A student may be studying accounting when he or she really wants to be an artist,” and attributes stress to one’s negligence in pursuing his or her true love.
Now, doing what you love may not necessarily be any less stressful than doing what you hate. It’ll be more work because you’ll push yourself that much more to be successful. But, your love for that activity or art or career will be more stimulating than anything else could possibly be during times of severe stress.