Saturday, March 28, 2009

College Stress

Stress Is Best
By Gabriella Calabro

New York is often referred to as a city full of “hustle and bustle and people are always on the go and trying to get to their destinations as fast as possible. Most New Yorkers would probably claim to have a stressful lifestyle, but what would they do if they didn’t? Would New Yorkers know what to do if they could leisurely walk to work in the morning, sit down and savor their morning coffee and thoroughly read the paper? Probably not. Stress is one of the main factors behind the city’s appeal, and it’s certainly a main factor in my life.

Sleeping your college years away may be less stressful, but completely

Sleeping until 10:00 am and having Fridays off used to be a top college priority of mine, but now as school and work get more demanding, I realize that every moment is precious and cannot be wasted sitting around doing nothing. Other students I know take a much more lax approach to their college years.

A typical Tuesday for me this semester consists of waking up at 8:00 a.m. and going to the Resident Advisor office in my residence hall to file all the programming information for our building. Between 9:45 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. I go upstairs to get ready for class, and need to be waiting for the elevator by 10:55. When 2:20 rolls around I have already completed two classes, grabbed a quick lunch, and made my way over to one of New York City’s top private elementary schools.

There I pick up a fourth grade girl, and the day has just begun -- from homework and low-glycemic snacks, to play dates, and swimming class, back home to finish homework, make and eat dinner and clean up afterwards. Once one of girl’s parents rolls in around 7:30 p.m., I find myself speed-walking or taking a taxi to the residence hall where I could be on duty from as early as 8:30 p.m. to as late as 12:30 a.m. Although there are days where I don’t get to eat dinner until 9:30 p.m., or go without seeing my boyfriend, I honestly do not think I would be happier if my life were any less busy.

According to the University of Florida Counseling Center (UFCC), “Much of the stress that we all experience is helpful and stimulating. The challenges of life tend to be stressful and an attempt to avoid stress completely would lead to a rather boring existence.”

A friend of mine has managed to design herself a pretty “stress free” semester. Taking mostly three hour classes, the earliest she ever has to be up is 1:30 p.m., after making her schedule she researched the classes and purposely stayed in ones with the least amount of homework and tests.

She has no pressure to wake up, go to class, and even though she has a job, she often finds people to take her shifts and has spent the majority of her semester in bed either sleeping or watching YouTube -- sounds pretty boring to me. I, on the other hand, have been out and about in the gorgeous city of New York meeting all different kinds of people and doing wonderful hands-on assignments for classes for my majors, English and Communication Arts, as well as my photography minor.

So what is lying in bed teaching her? How is this preparing her for “the real world,” as college usually claims to do? Why is she wasting all this money to attend such an expensive New York City college if she could sleep at a community college? If she’s falling into these habits in her early 20s, what will make her snap out of them in a year or two?

Without stress there would be no pressure or motivation to do anything, and everyone would just end up sleeping all day. There is no “right way” to spend your college years, but I certainly live by the “work now, play later” mentality. Why not get as much done as I can now and learn as much as possible while I’m still young and energized?

Living a stressful life now can only have a positive outcome -- I’ll either be so used to the stress I won’t notice how stressful adulthood is and will be able to handle it with ease, or my hard work will pay off and I’ll be living in the lap of luxury without a care in the world!

Either way I’ll probably be happier and more productive than the girl sleeping her college life away!

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