The infamous time of the school year has come again: Freshmen realize that ACU isn’t one big continuous Welcome Week, sophomores learn the true meaning of time management, juniors see that they’re not in the dorms anymore and go to bed before midnight, and fed-up seniors look forward to taking an enjoyable stroll across that stage.
No matter what year you are, you’ve probably begun to understand the meaning of stress. The tests, projects and homework get thrown in the mix with intramurals, church and friends, and pretty soon it feels like something has got to go.
My handy Microsoft Word dictionary defines stress as: “mental, emotional, or physical strain caused, for example, by anxiety or overwork. It may cause such symptoms as raised blood pressure or depression.”
In other words, stress is the result of having no room left in your planner to write because of everything you’ve put in there. Better yet, stress is not even having a planner.
One of my buddies has a pretty good idea of what stress is: During freshman year, he stayed up until about 4 a.m. studying for a major exam- which he proceeded to sleep through the following morning.
Stress is all around us. Heck, stress consumes us. Search for it on Yahoo.com and you’ll find 892 separate Web sites on the issue. Most of the 892 are foundations and organizations centered around helping one cope with stress: the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, the International Stress Management Association and the American Institute of Stress, to name a few. I found 56 different sites where one can even take a stress test. According to a test I took on www.stress-management.net, I have an 80 percent chance of illness or accident within two years.
Though I was disturbed by these results, I found one site that forced a laugh: a high-voltage stress test administered to a Furby with unfortunate results: (www.voltnet.com/ stress/furby).
In actuality, a lot of these sites are ludicrous. No self-help tape, 10-step program or magic pill can make anyone’s stress level go down. The only things that have helped me overcome stress are lots of prayer and support from friends and family.
But if you ever get really bogged down, just remember my three keys to making it through (the last two of which most professors will likely strangle me for): 1) It’s O.K. to drop something from your hectic schedule once in a while; 2) It’s never a bad decision to choose friends over an extra hour of studying for Bible and 3) The earth will still revolve around the sun if you sleep through astronomy class.