Just say 'no' to stress
November 8, 1996
by Scott Mac Kay
Getting out of bed at 6:45 a.m., teasing your body that you might actually
get six hours of sleep for the night. Climbing out of a warm bed and into
a needed cold shower to force your body out of its state of slumber and
into a state of readiness.
Arriving at 7:30 a.m. for class filled with endless lecturing punctuated
by neolithic chalk drawing that passes for what is going to be on your midterm.
Three hours and three classes later you finally wake up to discover that
you are at work running around the University as a work-study student, although
you do more of the former than the latter.
Lunchtime sends you to forge for food in the jungles of Davenport hoping
to find a warmed-over entree, but settling for a sandwich washed down with
some Lucky Charms.
By 12:30 p.m. you brave the streets to travel to your second job, the one
that actually lets you keep the money you earn instead of offering it to
the tuition god. A job that someone in college is overqualified to hold,
but has to take because they cannot offer a complete employment commitment.
Finishing your work day by 4 p.m. lets you get to campus in time for another
meal safari that promises all the calories a hardworking student needs to
stay warm in an arctic winter.
Perhaps after dinner one day a week you may go to class for another four
hours, or if you are lucky, settle down to begin the mountains of homework
Toss in a feeble attempt at a social life and you have what makes the average
day of any college age student at the University of La Verne.
In the movie "The Dead Poets Society," we are reminded of the
writings of Henry David Thoreau, "suck the marrow out of life."
But as Robin Williams character Charles Keating points out, "don't
choke on the bone."
In La Verne, and it seems in southern California we always strive to "suck
the marrow" never bothering to realizing that our attempts to, "seize
the day," could result in seizures.
Unlike our comrades on the East Coast, Californians do not have seasonal
changes to remind us its time to slow down and stay home. When fall and
winter come to the east they also bring a relaxed mindset and a physical
slowdown to the speed of everyday life.
In California, where winter is a balmy 60 degrees, individuals can go non-stop
365 days a year at full speed until they burn out and are discharged like
a rocket reaching for outer space.
Stress management could be listed as one of the most important traits to
have if you are going to be successful in a society where technology advances
one complete year in the period of three months.
Workshops are given, and classes are taught on how to manage stress, yet
students and faculty, seem intent on adding more and more burdens to their
lives contrary to their ability to keep with the pace.
Yet the simplest method for staying upright is within the grasp of everyone,
the word "no." Understanding your limits and saying no when faced
with the option to take on the weight of the world.
The word "no" does not admit some fallacy on you as an individual.
It means that you cannot do everything at once; it means you are not responsible
for all the problems of the world; it means you must trust someone else,
who is not pulling their share of the weight, to step forward and act.
The word "no" allows you freedom to act when and where you want.
Remember the immortal words of Ferris Bueller, "Life moves pretty fast,
if you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it."
Scott Mac Kay, a senior communications major, is news editor of the Campus
Times. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.