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Sofiya Ballin

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Be Kind to Yourself

Posted: 12/14/2012 4:51 pm

"Be kind to yourself!" was how my statistics professor, of all people, signed off his email. I had just emailed him with concerns about my grade in the course and I'll admit, I probably sounded a tad bit erratic. To say my grade is below average would be an understatement. First off, I hate math, with a passion.

Anything pertaining to numbers has never been my forte unless they were attached to a paycheck. I was always able to bend a phrase in places a number would snap back. However, the exam is next week and I'm currently in a computer lab typing my second 10-page paper getting dangerously close to my breaking point. Sleep has become a foreign memory, coffee has replaced water, and I'm pretty sure my skin is the same texture as Mars' surface.

Let's not even talk about my hair.

As I write this, I'm surrounded by my peers who look just as bad or worse than me. Many of which have been here with me for five hours straight and will probably watch the sun rise with me early in the morning. Some of us will splash our face with water, sip a five-hour energy and go straight to our 8:00 a.m. classes in a zombie-like manner praying we don't get hit by a car. Or sometimes wishing we did.

I wish I could say I was exaggerating. The thought of being hit by car and only getting hurt to the point that I had to spend a few weeks in a hospital bed has crossed my mind; I've told this to friends and strange enough, they've had the same idea. Sometimes things feel like they're spinning out of control so much that you wish something as crazy as a having moving vehicle crash into you just to bring back some sort of equilibrium and calm into your life. Or at least an extension on a paper, geez.

Yet, here I am. With mountains of notes slathered with bell graphs, curves, and formulas I need to be proficient in by the time of my final exam in order to pass the class. I can't tell you the last time I've eaten or slept. My father called me. He reminded me that the three most important things to maintain in college are: a healthy diet, sleep, and good grades. He always says this as if the three can simultaneously exist, when in reality two suffer for one.

As I stare at the kid across from me drooling on his MacBook, I'm beginning to realize that we're crossing over. I know for me, finals have gotten me so wired and uptight that I don't know if I'll ever unwind again. I've become what I thought I wouldn't. I've become that cousin who comes home on Thanksgiving break and is no longer fun and energetic but riddled with worry and the pressures of rent and grades. Eventually those will turn into the stresses of mortgage and kids. Is this when it happens? When you become an upperclassman parties begin to lose their appeal compared to just sleep.

Perhaps, that's why my professor responded that way. I wouldn't be surprised if he already signed me up for counseling. Honestly, I wouldn't blame him. A few weeks ago a girl at our university had taken her own life, no one knows why, but I wouldn't be surprised if the pressures and stress of college life played a role. Suicides have become increasingly rampant on college campuses and I'm convinced it's because we're losing sight of the bigger picture.

When in school we are so wrapped up in what I call the "college cocoon," we forget about the world outside. Sometimes that's a good thing and other times it can cause you to forget why you came here in the first place. For most of us, it is to make a better life for ourselves. A life that you can enjoy, and possibly share with someone else. That is why we're all here, because we want to be successful, but sometimes our determination can end up being counter productive and we end up in a computer lab shaking relentlessly due to drinking three bottles of five hour energy, flying high off Red Bull, and bouncing off the walls due to popping too much Adderall. I know too many people addicted to these things because they've lost sight of the bigger picture.

Granted, a lot of students end up in this predicament after being too kind to themselves, I'm sure procrastination plays a heavy role in the reason this lab is over-capacity. It can be argued that maybe we should be kind to ourselves in a different way, instead of going to the bar or that party, start that paper weeks before it is due.

As students I know we have so much to juggle. Whether it be five classes, one or two internships, one or two jobs, organizations, social lives, and personal lives. It can get even more overwhelming when you add family issues/illness to the mix. So I'm going to throw some statistics into this. Our goal is to give all these things 100 percent, however in reality we are not perfect and this is virtually impossible giving us a confidence interval of 90- 95 percent, meaning we will do the best we can and leave a small margin of error, for wiggle room. If we do the best we can without overworking ourselves we can still come out with a more than significant result. Check me out, applying my statistics!

We should ask ourselves, what good is a great GPA if by the time I cross that stage at graduation I'm half-dead and half-crazy?

With all this being said, I've given myself a 30-minute break to be kind to my self. To do something I want to do whether it is to sleep, do my nails, get a massage, talk with my friends, or write this blog, anything that will relax my mind.

Failing this class would be terribly, terribly, inconvenient but I refuse to make it the end of the world.

 

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