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The Unintended Stress from a Plate of Spaghetti

The Unintended Stress from a Plate of Spaghetti

A student talks about the unintended stress from a plate of spaghetti while going through the admissions process.

By Kristin Drew

April 21, 2009

On one not-so-different Friday evening, I glared at the computer with my eyes wide open. Exhausted from a strenuous week, I sat with a deep exasperation and wondered why my computer must warm up so slowly. On that Friday, I would learn whether the University of Florida accepted me. Recently, the competition has skyrocketed for that college, and many students from my high school were denied last year. I started to rub my head with hopes of assuaging my pounding stress. Suddenly…

“Kristin! Dinner’s ready!” my mom said.

“One minute please…” I muttered.

“It’s getting cold!”

“I said, ONE MINUTE PLEASE! GOSH! CAN’T YOU LEAVE ME ALONE FOR FIVE MINUTES?” I yelled.

After apologizing to mom for my sudden outburst, I realized that the stress from the process is nurturing a monster within me. To be quite frank, the life of a devoted student is quite stressful. Thankfully, I’ve finished the applications, but they certainly left their stressful mark in my mind. While I try to maintain my grades, improve in my sport, continue voice lessons, and raise money for college, I now have to deal with an admissions committee deciding whether I am suitable for their campus.

Have you seen your scholarship matches recently? Look now.

While I try to cope with this stress, I realized that carrying this weight is not healthy. My stress has made me grumpy, tired, frustrated and unhappy. All of this negative energy has now developed into negative words and actions. Why am I suddenly so infuriated with my mom over a cooling plate of spaghetti? How did I nurture this monster to consume my true self?

Waiting for my computer to warm up, I heard the television speak of a recent shooting at Northern Illinois University. Shocked and deeply saddened, I remembered that not so long ago, a deranged Virginia Tech student felt the necessity to harm innocent people. Even high schools, such as Columbine, have experienced incredible tragedy due to bullied or troubled students.

I came to an important realization. While academics, sports, college, money and relationships are important, students should not compromise their health, happiness or sanity over such matters. While it is normal for stressed people to act differently than usual, it still compromises their general happiness. I’ve learned that people can underestimate the extent of their actions during stressful times. It’s my life, and I choose my happiness.

If you feel like stress is truly wearing you down, talk to someone. It could be a parent, a friend or school counselor. Don’t let negative energy brew in your mind. Also, help others who are stressed. Breathe. Drink a fizzy soda. Watch a mindless movie flick. Laugh at a funny joke.

I went to the University of Florida Web site and logged in. Smiling, I saw the large “Congratulations” in bolded print.

Everything is going to be okay.


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