Stress kills

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It’s that time again, when we’re all feeling the stress of finals and term papers and projects, all of which have an annoying tendency to be due on the same day. 

Yes, my child, that twenty page paper the professor talked about way back in the beginning of the semester that you still haven’t started yet is due tomorrow; where has the time gone, eh? 

Indeed, good sir, a majority of your seven finals will be this Saturday; that will teach you to be an honors student! 

And as for you, madame, your grand presentation on why pollution is actually good for the planet-for which, for some reason, you can’t seem to formulate a convincing argument (damn coin toss!)-must be completed on the same day as your 50-minute, ten-dollar-budget film project that must be eligible for an Academy Award. Hey, you’re the one who decided you wanted to be a trial attorney (or maybe you shouldn’t have taken that CTV elective!). 

Or maybe it’s your forty-page monologue with complete schematics for internal- and externalization of cognition processes with “completed actions” (whatever the hell that means), or your plans for an advertising campaign of some product over a course of 12 years with samples and examples (good ones, at that!). 

Or perhaps it’s the freaking thesis for your mother-freaking Ph. D! 

Whatever it is, crunch time is here. And at such a time, one might feel inclined to undergo certain emotional processes such as fear, stress, anxiety, and my personal favorite, panic (I just like the word; it sounds cool).

I have realized that those kinds of feelings rarely accomplish anything outside of helping you flunk a class. Furthermore, that kind of thing is generally counterproductive to a happy, healthy, and fruitful life. 

You cannot spend every waking moment worrying about getting a perfect score on everything or it will kill you. Seriously, stress is a killer. It kills. No fooling. When you feel the anxiety of still not being done with whatever you have to do, that anxiety is slowly eating away at you until eventually there will be nothing left and you’ll have a stroke at 40 and die.

The prescription? Relax. That’s all. Calm the heck down and just take it one day at a time. You can’t do it all at once, and you need to realize that. Just look at what’s due soonest, and focus on that. 

If there are multiple things due on the same day, focus on the more important thing and work your way down. And if they’re all equally important, it’s not unheard of to ask one of your professors for an extension. He or she might not give it to you, but you can still ask. 

And yes, sometimes you will have to pull an all-nighter, but don’t let it get to you. Lack of sleep kills too, but it’ll kill you faster if you combine it with stress. 

Just try to be happy, if for no other reason than that you’re a college student and these are supposed to be the best years of your life (although I don’t necessarily agree with that). You’re supposed to be discovering yourself, and you can’t do that if you’re busy stressing out about everything you have to do for classes. Just do it, and do it with a smile on your face.

A few nights ago, I was up until 7:30 am writing a paper. The day before, I knew it was coming, and rather than worry about how I still wasn’t done with the paper, I just said to myself, “Well, it looks like I’ll have to pull an all-nighter tonight; that sucks, but whatever.” And I did it. 

I never questioned that the paper would get finished; that was a certainty. I suppose my rationale was that no matter what, the paper would be written by the time it was due, even if I had to stay up all night…which I did.

Remember, you can do it. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it comes in the form of graduation. 

Of course, once you graduate, you’ll have a whole slew of new problems to deal with, so you should be thankful that that day isn’t here yet. 

And to all the seniors graduating this month: good luck. You’ll need it.

Trey Treviño is a sophomore CTV major. He can be reached for comment at ttrevino@smu.edu.
 

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