May 1, 2011

The Repercussion of Higher Education Finals Week ~ Lindsay McClure

Surviving finals in a time of relentless stress

While interning here at elephant, I have read many insightful, mindful articles about how to handle stress. It is finals week here in Boulder and it is through elephant that I gear up with great advice.

Sometimes it’s hard to think that students battle each semester fighting for a grade. This significant brand is the scarlet letter, a stamp signifying how much work you put into each class. Like robots, students head to the library to make up reading chapters that were assigned weeks ago. The accumulation becomes overwhelming, constantly creating a fear of failing.

My roommate serves as tutelage for students everywhere.

It hit like a storm—here it comes.

She is one of my best friends and when I know something is wrong, the silence is deafening. The door connecting our rooms is closed, so I assume she isn’t home. I clean my room, do some reading for a class then put on my running shoes and go for a jog with my dog. I come back but by now the sun created a daunting dusk, the unofficial time implanted by nature’s clock when homes begin to turn on lamps. I can see through the crack under the door, a light has come! I decide to feed my dog take a shower and get back to reading, assuming she will hear me and tell me about her day.

I was sidetracked as time kept passing, watching something on tv and talking to my boyfriend, sleep closely follows. I didn’t hear from her the whole day. I had become so caught up in my little world consisting of my dog, boyfriend and own studies, I had neglected my fallen soldier.

When I eventually talked to her the next morning she emerged from her room with one of the most memorable faces. It was the look of uneasiness in which we stared at each other, each of us holding our laugh back because Lauren physically and mentally looked like she hit a wall. She had been up all night due to a late night coffee break in the library. Almost bursting into tears she laid on my bed and explained how she watched the entire royal wedding live—it aired at 4 a.m. here in Colorado. It was a state of breakdown, crying and laughing at the same time we both found the humor in the situation. Finals are a time of stress for students almost making 15 hours of sleep in a span of about 5 days a social norm. She, like so many other students including myself seek refuge in our textbooks, calculations and notes for about a week.

Stress ain’t pretty. It undoubtedly takes a physical toll on your body being one of the leading causes of acne. The coffee, energy drinks, junk food all stimulates an already drained student. Green tea is often neglected as a source of caffeine as it gives a healthy boost of antioxidants that are very helpful when trying to focus. However, the most ignored human activity, sleep gets overlooked. Sleep is a very important act for humans; it is necessary for a healthy life. If we do not re-charge at night, a domino effect of negative repercussions ensue including an effect on memory meaning the note cards you kept reading last night at 3 a.m. could be forgot because your mind was exhausted—there was no room for mental memorization.

When I’m feeling overwhelmed I look at some articles on elephant and recognize the bigger picture, away from grades and GPAs. I am not a perfect student, no one is. Accept your trials and tribulations and treat them just so, as tests, making us realize who we all really are, and what we are doing in this not-so-large-world.

Lindsay resides in Boulder, Colorado where she is studying Journalism and Environmental Studies as an undergrad at the University of Colorado.

She is a true Aries, and her aura colors are violet/yellow. Lindsay spends most of her time with her best friend, a 5-year-old Siberian Husky/wolf mix, Nanuk.

They can be seen climbing, running, and biking the paths of Boulder. She believes in environmentalism, jelly beans and green tea.

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