Amid the myriad of voices in the student publications lab, it can be hard to gather thoughts in an orderly way. Students are drowning in the noise − from cell phones ringing, the neighbor’s television and seemingly constant conversations. There are worries about graduating on time with the course plan that is so easily misread. Anxiety caused by the process of getting three internships (needed as a mass communication/journalism major) aligned for the summer and getting hired for them in the first place. With all the activities held on campus, it’s easy to stretch yourself too thin. This problem of “over-commitment” strikes with force. To end this problem and the stress it causes, I have a few techniques for finding relief.
Too many students find themselves over involved in activities that all the while may be good, but are just too much for the 24 hours in a day. Just like Thanksgiving dinner offers many wonderfully tasting options, but if too much is eaten it results in a stomach ache, rather than a “happy cat” nap. No one can do everything. Accept the best and let the good keep passing by. It’s better to be deeply and fully committed to a few things, rather than overwhelm yourself doing nothing well by trying to undertake too much. Between full-time student status, a work study job, intramural sports and church commitments I find myself running out of breath more than once a semester. Sometimes I think it’s time to leave campus and sit in Texas Java to sip a nice coffee with a friend.
Number two: plan a time to get away.
For me, this meant missing out on a couple of religious meetings that I enjoy, but knew was too much for my schedule. I found myself attending three meetings in addition to Sunday morning services, yet feeling guilty for not attending the new Sunday night Bible study led by college students. I had no reason to feel remorse for not being able to attend every thing that crossed my path. Even the desire to go didn’t mean I needed to take on yet another weekly time commitment. Especially during the middle of the semester, when academics become particularly burdensome, it’s important to leave enough time to study and rest. Getting away to a local park for a walk or finding a secluded place to read a book for leisure are a couple of ways to let the mind rest. Leaving the daily routine will also provide the chance for spiritual renewal. Leave the phone in the car. Leave the laptop along with its e-mail and Internet in the dorm room. No worries. Life will still be waiting after the stress has melted by finding some time for quiet.
Number three: Don’t worry. Don’t hurry.
Not a single person can make a thing better by worrying. Even though this is advice from my mother during emotional rollercoaster rides that early teenage life brings, it still stands true. Take a moment to evaluate the things causing the anxiety. Try journaling it out. Once you identify the problem, finding solutions is much easier. Maybe wearing sweat pants because all the laundry is still waiting for you in the hamper is OK for one more day. Taking small breaks during bigger projects will also ease the stress they cause. Get in different surroundings. Enter a change of pace. I’ve found when I’m most stressed that taking a nice jog on a treadmill in Mayborn Campus Center helps free my mind, especially while listening to my “Exercise” playlist of edgy, rocky songs on my iPod. This can help recharge the body for finishing what projects you’ve started. Choosing to be involved in only a few favorite activities and making time to rest are keys to a successful and happy college career.