I love my college. The people act with consideration and compassion, the academics keep my mind alive, and the opportunities available continue to amaze me. But all of this – the social life, the challenging schoolwork, the myriad of commitments – comes with a cost: stress.
A few weeks ago I submitted my first paper for a writing-intensive seminar course. I was not wrought with worry; I had written several papers of longer length and with more complex requirements before. But when I got it back I almost bawled: a “B-”. The grade itself did not bother me as much as what the letter implied, like a lack of knowledge, a weakness in thinking, or some defect in what I’ve held as my talent all throughout my life. Let’s just say there’s one thing I did in high school that I still do in college, which may or may not be crying while listening to Taylor Swift in my room.
After listening to a TED talk (shown to me by a college friend) I think I’ve learned a little bit about stress. Studies show that stress itself is not bad. However, how we perceive stress determines whether it punches us in the gut or propels us to better and brighter places. If we consider stress as our body’s natural response to an obstacle – that it’s preparing us to plow right through it – then we improve the quality of our lives through our thinking.
A “B-”? That just means that I have much more to learn, that I should pump myself up for the next paper
that’s due at midnight today and I haven’t started oh snap time to bring out the soda and junk food. The fact that I haven’t been able to blog as much since college started? Just a sign that I should value each post even more and that I should work more writing time into my schedule. Even the smaller issues that bite and gnaw in the back of my mind create impetuses for inspired action, a conglomeration of motivation to chase meaning.
How are you guys doing? I highly recommend you watch that TED talk I linked to – it’s wonderful. What do you guys think of stress? Have any stressful events occurred in your lives lately?
Meanwhile I’m dedicating a decent amount of my time today to responding to blog comments and catching up on other blogs. I’ve read quite a bit in the past few weeks but mostly for school or short story club, which is why I’ve stuck to posting small thoughts on Goodreads. You can check out my thoughts on Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Types by Isabel Briggs Myers, The Writing Life by Annie Dillard, The Second Bakery Attack by Haruki Murakami, and A Hunger Artist by Franz Kafka here, here, here, and here respectively. Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday and a great week!