Picture of students using computers in the library

Do Sand Sharks Stress?

December 14, 2013

Do Sand Sharks Stress? Yes, some may even say it’s a part of survival... One educational experience I think my fellow USCB peers and I are exposed to at the close of the semester is learning our aptitude in handling stress. Frantically finding ways to handle the call of being a student and not completely succumbing to a meltdown is sometimes the nature of the beast.

Naturally the end of the semester brings stress. There are papers and projects, foreign language orals, final presentations and speeches, and the infamous final exams morphing into a tornado of flashcards, late nights, and lots of coffee.

Thankfully my peers and I often experience our professors working hard to create balanced and reasonable loads and demands: supporting us in their placement of due dates, providing study guides, making available tutors and extra credit opportunities, and having encouraged us throughout the semester to do a little bit every day, or to stay dedicated and committed in time management, encouragements to stay on top of the assignments and readings, encouragements to give it our best, encouragements to find our curiosity within the study… as these tools and ideas ingrain the knowledge within us more easily and maintains the accessibility of such knowledge while reflecting our growth in these final evaluations.

However it is only realistic that sometimes we get off track, sometimes as students we find ourselves cramming, or hustling to understand a topic, or integrate ten chapters of knowledge into a final paper. Some of us work better under the pressure, some of us do not, some of us prepare in advance and work hard but panic on tests, and some of us fall victim to letting things slide but maybe just maybe saving face with the finals!

If we are fortunate and have wised up on some ends, we take each of our college semester experiences: be it cramming, nearly breaking down from the pressures of last minute duties, be it success in finding excellent study habits or semester long habits to “stay on top of the learning”-- and we evaluate our behavior and conduct leading the process of our final evaluations (through final projects, presentations, and exams). If it nearly drove us to quitting we try not to repeat it (insanity, after all, is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results), but if it worked we keep it (no reason to reinvent the wheel if it works)! We monitor and adjust these experiences to improve upon each new experience. To apply what we have newly learned about ourselves and our interactions within differing disciplines, class settings, with differing teachers, texts, assignments, and peers. AND if we fail, we pull ourselves up by the boot straps and try again. Yes, perhaps easier said than done, I know, but practice makes it easier, and failure is not the end all be all. In fact sometimes failure drives us more, knowing how to let it drive us is another education in itself.

This is all a part of the education experience: it takes effort, recognition, inquiry, application, evaluation, questioning, seeking, analyzing, integrating, using our creativity to manage, to find what works in our learning, understanding, and growth, and to find what works in the stress management, and our survival too. Our USCB Student Life also supplies study break and de-stress activities throughout each end of semester to help with our sanity, things such as yoga and arts&crafts. Sometimes a little bit of stress, giving us a kick and drive to be accountable, is a good thing, yet a better thing is not letting a little bit of stress turn into an all consuming giant of stress-- and finding the tricks to prevent that.

We certainly know stress can have its unhealthy measures that people often have run-ins with, and sometimes this kind of stress has arisen as a personal battle for myself in the past. In the midst of my finals a dear friend knowing my aptitude to stress sent me an image that my brain adores and I now attempt to apply regularly, I hope you may find it as much as a gift as I did:

dont worry

Furthermore I hope you do not stress if you face failure, I have included some inspirational stories of overcoming failures. Failures of many kinds exist differently for everyone. What is important is finding the goodness and hopes of future and the fuel within the failure as these people did to grow and persevere (by The Huffington Post's ):

“Steven Spielberg was rejected from USC, twice.” That is the University of Southern California--not our beloved Gamecock Home (you know we would have taken you Steve)!!! Steven Spielberg maker of classic films: “Shindler’s List”, “Jaws”, “E.T.”, and “Jurassic Park” was rejected from this dream school of film twice before getting in.

“Franklin Roosevelt ... developed polio, which eventually left him paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of his life. Even though he couldn't walk, he went on to lead the country as one of the most respected and memorable presidents in history.

“Oprah Winfrey … one of the most successful and richest people in the world today, was repeatedly molested by her cousin, uncle and a family friend, but Winfrey's tragic past didn't stop her from becoming the force she is today. She later excelled as an honors student…and won an oratory contest which secured her a full scholarship to college… now the entrepreneur and personality has the admiration of millions…

“Stephen King's first novel was rejected 30 times. If it weren't for King's wife, ‘Carrie’ may not have ever existed. After being consistently rejected by publishing houses, King gave up and threw his first book in the trash. His wife, Tabitha, retrieved the manuscript and urged King to finish it. Now, King's books have sold over 350 million copies and have been made into countless major motion pictures.

“Benjamin Franklin dropped out of school at age ten. Franklin's parents could only afford to keep him in school until his tenth birthday. That didn't stop the great man from pursuing his education. He taught himself through voracious reading, and eventually went on to invent the lightning rod and bifocals. Oh, and he became one of America's Founding Fathers.

“Jim Carrey used to be homeless. Carrey revealed to James Lipton on ‘Inside the Actor's Studio’ that when he was 15, he had to drop out of school to support his family. His father was an unemployed musician and as the family went from ‘lower middle class to poor,’ they eventually had to start living in a van. Carrey didn't let this stop him from achieving his dream of becoming a comedian: He went from having his dad drive him to comedy clubs in Toronto to starring in mega-blockbusters and being known as one of the best comedic actors of an era.

(by The Huffington Post's Renee Jacques)

May you find the freedom in overcoming failures and healthily combatting stress!

Yours Truly: Unstressed, Serene, Sand Shark, Swimming into Winter Break!

                                                                                                                        Erin Dailey