December 1, 2010

Academic Stress

As this is the time papers are due and exam study begins I wanted to find a good definition of stress...but the best (first) definition I could find was this non-definition:

If you were to ask a dozen people to define stress, or explain what causes stress for them, or how stress affects them, you would likely get 12 different answers to each of these requests. The reason for this is that there is no definition of stress that everyone agrees on, what is stressful for one person may be pleasurable or have little effect on others and we all react to stress differently.

Since there isn't an agreed upon definition I can make one up myself that will have as much merit as well established ideas, right? Right: this is how academia works.

From the past few weeks I've found in addition to the general feeling of pressure to perform, Academic Stress can be caused by a lack in confidence in your ability to do something demanded of you. In this respect going through University, particularly upper year courses (Frosh: Don't complain now, it only gets harder) increases not only your ability to deal with stress but also lowers it because (,assuming you complete the assignments and eventually graduate) it increases the amount and quality of work you are confident in your ability to complete. This assumes it eventually work stops increasing faster than your perceived ability level.

That thought aside, aside, it really feels good to turn in a paper to have it done with. There's always something else to work on but sometimes you need a break in order to have the mental focus to work effectively on whatever is next. For now here's a song you might enjoy (or might hate me for posting, depending on when your next assignment is due and how much of it you've finished) by Hey Rosetta! (which played in Sackville last year) that I find very fitting for the moment you click send or let go of your paper:

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