Around mid December, most people expect to see excited and motivated students. After all, Christmas and vacation are just around the corner. Instead, around this time, I resemble a time bomb. Tiptoe around with care or else you’ll get exploded upon. My nerves are on edge, snapping at random. Sleep poker is played in various hall ways to the extreme. In short, my fellow classmates and I are a bit of a mess. Exams are a time pressure situation and although I know I’ll be fine, I panic anyway.
So when I saw that the topic of the student voice twitter chat last week was student stress, I thought I had a lot to say. But as the conversation progressed, I reflected on the movie a Race to Nowhere and recent conversation with my parents, which made me realize that I don’t really have a lot of real stress.
Two main things led me to this realization. Firstly, the truth in a statement a student in the stuvoice chat made about some amount of stress being helpful as motivation. The second was that when asked what stressed me out and why exactly I was stressed, I couldn’t pinpoint anything specific. Sure, I had a lot going on, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Yes I was tired from studying intently, but I knew I had to do so in at least one class in order to perform to my full potential. Like that student said, my motivation, which was to do well, added some stress, but it was almost positive.
Two summers ago, I learned that there are two kinds of stress: eustress and distress. Eustress is caused by high positive emotions while distress is negative and well, distressing. Often, students pass off any unfortunate situation or moodiness as stress. I know I do. But stress has come to be used as a catch all phrase when really, we aren’t stressed. Yes, you might be busy, tired, behind and overworked which can lead to some stress. However, the truth may be that if you take a step back, the pressure one receives from a “full” and “rewarding” life is motivational and oddly, helpful. And to me at least, the realization that some stress is not all bad, takes a big load off.