Within and Without / Under pressure

Every year, around this point in the semester, it is inevitable that we students begin experiencing the effects of school-related stress. This is only added to by a myriad of other factors: the political climate, the meteorological climate, the economy and our lives at home.

Not that we were not experiencing incredible stress before, no, we were, but now is when dealing with that stress begins to feel insurmountable.

Projects, papers and exams begin to build up and finals loom in the distance, yet paradoxically the end of the semester somehow feels further away than ever. We become desperate to fulfill all of the requirements we have stacked up for ourselves, like an increasingly growing, wobbly Jenga tower ready to collapse the next time one block is pulled out of place.

During this time, the pressure upon us can be great enough to break us. We may even come crashing down. But it is okay.

In my time as a college student, my yearly mental breakdowns seem to arrive around this time like clockwork. The anxiety from the stress and the pressure builds, making it more difficult to get things done, which makes more things pile up, which causes more anxiety, only agitating my preexisting anxiety and depression.

This exhausting vicious cycle of anxiety and stress is incredibly real, and is one you might be intimately familiar with as a college student or even just as a human being.

This chronic condition of pre-occupation is one that we have adopted with responsibilities piling upon responsibilities.

We are trained as we grow up to stay busy: to do as much as possible, to take on as many projects as possible, to be more ambitious, to be competitive. Pressure grows as we build relationships and expectations from our professors, our friends, our families and most of all ourselves which combine to weigh us down and break us.

Which is why it is okay to ask for help. It is okay to fail sometimes. It is okay to distract ourselves from the pressures we face, and who could blame us?

When you are feeling so totally overwhelmed, skip class, call in sick to work, take a nap, indulge in distractions, binge watch Netflix, listen to your favorite album, have amazing sex, meditate, pray, eat ridiculous amounts of food, exercise, go to The Wellness Center, talk to a therapist, call your parents, talk to a random stranger, ask a friend for a hug, do whatever you need to do to get through this. Do whatever you need to keep yourself from crashing down into a jumbled, stress-induced heap of stress.

And most importantly, be happy. Because, although it may be cliché, life is too short not to be.