April 1999

We’ve all felt it: the sleepless nights completely unrelated to insomnia, the choking feeling that always comes just before tears, the overwhelming desire to throw one’s body repeatedly against a wall.  It’s stress, a dark cloud that rains consistently on the TPHS picnic.  And until summer comes (only 34 more days to go!), there’s no real way to get rid of it.

Last quarter, I experienced stress at its finest.  With a year-premature case of senioritis, I scheduled a lot of “medical appointments” and attended to hours of “personal business.”  That was mistake number one.  I soon found myself days behind in classes that I’d usually only have to show up to in order to pull an “A,” not to mention the subjects with which I struggle.

Then, when it came time for me to go to class, the general thought running through my head was a variation of, “Oh no.  If I go to English, she’ll expect me to turn in all that makeup work that I haven’t done yet.  Maybe I’d better not go…”  Mistake número dos.  Throw in a week out of town, followed by a couple periods off due to “jet-lag” (mistake numéro trois), and I found myself with a little over one week left before the end of third quarter to make up about three weeks worth of work.

I tried crying.  I tried throwing myself repeatedly against a wall.  But somehow neither of those tactics helped the situation.  So I resorted to Plan B.  I went to class.  I found out all the assignments I had missed and I wrote them down on an index card.  Then I carried the card around with me for the rest of the day and whined to everyone I saw.  This didn’t do much either.  I realized that the only way to get my head above water was to actually work.

So that weekend and the afternoons that followed, I grounded myself.  I locked myself in my room, turned off the ringer on my phone, and wrote paper after paper, completed lab after lab, and studied for the seven-or-so tests I had the next week.  The whole time I worked, I kept the little green index card nearby.  As soon as I finished anything – even getting my dad to sign a permission slip – I crossed it off the list.  By the end of the week, I had a card covered in scribbles, and a chance to enjoy my spring break in peace.  And I was tired.

So while there isn’t a magical fairy who flutters from house to house while we sleep, making stress disappear (or if there is, she’s the one who operates that great Homework Machine that I keep hearing about but can’t seem to find), the best way I’ve found to reduce stress is to jump up and down on top of it.  Scream, cry, throw yourself against a wall if you so desire, but don’t waste too much time.  Just do what you have to do and summer (34 days left!) will come a lot quicker, or at least a lot less painfully.

One Response to April 1999

  1. Emily says:

    This is a VERY good lesson. Now back to work …

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