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Opinion

College stress often causes students to forget to have fun; rewarding yourself can make it easier

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December 5, 2007

I hate college.

It’s a phrase I find myself saying quite often in those moments of overwhelming stress.

The life I lead, along with many other students, was once described to me: it’s like living in a snow globe, and just when you think life is going to settle down, someone comes along and shakes it up again.

This statement of life has stuck with me since.

It seems that everyday, someone needs something from me.

The cherry seems to be missing. Where is the cherry?

There’s a test tomorrow I heard about yesterday. That story that’s due, make sure to get it to the box on time, even if it means making an extra trek across campus for that sole purpose. And, by the way, here’s your next story assignment. Don’t forget to do those critiques! Oh, and how can I not mention that seminar paper? I’ve only had the last two and a half weeks to get it done, but I’m only a page or two into it, and it’s due in two days. Apparently I should not have put that one off. Oops. Then there’s that other exam, the three meetings and work to add on top.

Someone asked me the other day, “How can you do so much homework?”

I didn’t know how to respond.

It really made me think about my situation. I was so stressed out that I didn’t even have time to realize it until then. When was the last time I just had some fun?

I can’t even remember. Have no idea. I apparently don’t have time to have fun.

I think that’s what a lot of us college students forget sometimes. We get so wrapped up in making everyone else happy by doing whatever it is he or she wants us to do.

I know that’s me.

I wasn’t even sure quite how to get out of this mess, even for a few hours, just to clear my head – to not worry about what I should be doing and to instead think about what I want to be doing.

The thought of doing what I wanted to instead of what I should made me feel guilty, mostly because I know I’m going to be up until 3 a.m. finishing that seminar paper.

It made me feel guilty… until this weekend.

This weekend, my little brother got confirmed at church. This meant that the extended family was over at our family’s house for a little congratulatory party. Two of my aunts happened to stay a little later for a bonfire and some laughs.

The night started a little slow for me—I was tired and wanted to go to bed. A few “party-pooper” phrases were thrown at me, though, and I decided to stick around for the fun.

Just hanging out, listening to some jokes, a little music, and I was having fun. Wait, change that … a blast.

It was that missing cherry that would make all that stress from the week a little sweeter. The cherry was now sitting right on top of everything.

Everyone needs to remember to top off all that stress and hard work with a cherry. Do something for you, whatever that may be, that will add a little sweetness to life.

Addie Carlson is a student at UW-River Falls.