Stress Coping Tips (from someone who's been there)
I’ve had a lot of experience with school and school-related stress. Throughout my undergraduate education, graduate education, and my time here at the OUA I have developed a few coping mechanisms. As many of you await our Early Decision I letters and most of you wrap-up semesters with final projects and exams, let me hand down the stress-coping tips I have gathered.
Put the blue jolly ranchers back. You will need a good stash of candy to get through the end of each semester. Some semesters you will need a constant supply. Either way, I recommend jolly ranchers, particularly if you need to sit for long periods of time when you’re writing a paper. The wrappers are easy to undo, it lasts a long time in your mouth, and it tricks your stomach so you don’t need to take as many meal breaks. However, beware the blue jolly rancher. The other colors have a less obvious effect on your teeth, but if you consume Blue Raspberry you will end up both stressed and ridiculous-looking. In The Commons coffee shop/convenience store here at Vanderbilt you will find a number of candy bins and one is always full of JRs. Grab a bag, fill it up, and then make sure you pluck out the blue ones. The staff will not be happy, but in the end, it’s really for the best.
Avoid Starbucks. Now, before you slam me on our reply board, let me say I love Starbucks. Yet, during finals you’re going to want to stick with drip coffee because it’s easier on the stomach than an IV of lattes. Moreover, a coffee cup in hand will be a necessity for most of your study hours. Because of this you’ll want to stick with light roast or mild roast blends. Every drip coffee Starbucks sells is BOLD and will induce cardiac arrest if you consume repeatedly throughout the day. Rand Dining Hall on campus brews Bongo Java coffee all day and it’s perfect for getting you through those last few weeks of school. Feel free to return to the Gingerbread Latte or Peppermint Mocha during winter vacation.
Watch 30 Rock, TiVo NCIS. At the end of the day your head will likely be spinning with the knowledge you absorbed during the day and all of the knowledge you have yet to absorb tomorrow. Turning off that part of your brain is difficult so have some comedy TV and movies set aside for the hour before bed time. The reality is you will be too tired to read books for fun. Plus, shows like NCIS, Criminal Minds, and CSI will scare you silly or get the analytical side of your brain working, neither good for a calm night of sleep. Put those dramas and crime shows on your TiVo or DVR and watch them after Rudolph has circled the globe.
Immerse yourself in someone else’s drama. I spend a few minutes every morning catching up on the latest in Hoosier and Commodore basketball. Who doesn’t love the way Australian A.J. Ogilvy has stepped up to lead the ‘Dores? And I can’t help but hope Coach Crean can return the Hoosiers to NCAA greatness. Following the ups and downs of my teams gives my mind something other than school work to mull over. Many of my friends are fans of the celebrity gossip magazines during times of high stress, and I have to admit I have indulged before. My life just doesn’t seem as stressful when you read all the drama in the celebs’ lives… Tiger anyone?
These are just a few of my tips (no one will ever tell you their super-secret-study-place). Surely you already have a few from your high school years and you will develop your own during college. Feel free to discard all of my advice if you wish, but do so at your own risk, blue teeth are not attractive.