Towards the end of last semester, I began a new full time job. I was taking five classes, was on the newspaper staff, and was running a school club. I remember staying up into the wee hours of the morning trying to finish homework that was due in six hours, and then going to work for eight hours straight. I was tired every day, and would try everything in my power to stay awake and alert so I could succeed at my new job and accomplish all my school work. Once I reached the point where the 5 Hour Energy shots would do nothing for me, I realized that something had to change.
I dropped the club, I didn’t write anything for the last couple issues of the paper, and didn’t work as much. But even with these cutbacks, I still failed a crucial class I needed to graduate. I could feel the stress taking its toll on my body and mind. I spent one entire weekend in my bed, too tired and too scared to do anything. I eventually got out of my stress daze and rolled my sluggish, un-showered body, covered in Cheetos, to my computer to find some options for stopping this crazy cycle of terror mixed with hysteria.
I eventually found a website called “ULifeline,” which, as its name suggests, is run by the University of Utah. The beginning of the site talked about what stress is and where it comes from. How silly of me. I already knew where the stress was coming from so I skimmed ahead to the sub-heading, “Warning Signs.” After reading a few of those and diagnosing myself with my already known problems, I continued on to “Proactive Stress Management.”
Having seen “Shutter Island,” I knew that the mind and body are connected. This first tip was to create some kind of exercise program that would require some sort of workout at least every other day. So I added a half hour of jogging to my life at least three times a week, and would try to work up to every other day.
The next tip was to literally write down the goals that I wanted to accomplish in school or my personal life, then to try and figure out a schedule that would work with those goals. With this schedule, there needs to be manageable time increments for different projects that you need to accomplish. If you plan something that is unrealistic and hope that it will push you harder, then you are more likely to get frustrated and give up.
Planning some “alone time” to just relax and not stress about what you need to get done for at least 20 minutes a day was a crucial part of setting up the schedule. Having a positive attitude and someone that can communicate and listen to the stress of life is helpful as well.
After reading this website, I could feel the hope of being able to make a change and not be so stressed out about everything. I ended up failing one of my classes, but passing all of the others. I try to not beat myself up so much about that one class since I can retake it and now I will know how to handle myself better next semester.
If you are still having a hard time with being stressed out, go to the Health and Wellness Center in the basement of the Student Center at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus. To see the website that changed my academic life, go to ulifeline.org/main/factsheets.