Penned with Zen: Warning: Not worth the Stress
Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 13:09
Life is fairly unreal. We live in a modernized world that represents the pinnacle of human achievement. There are inventions today that would be considered impossible just a decade ago. Every week our perceived notions and prejudice adjusts to move towards a better society. Somewhere in the vast sprawl of this wonderful world, each one of us is supposed to make some sort of meaningful contribution. Which is why staying up all night working on your 30-page report is worth the stress, right?
These are probably going to be the thoughts going through a lot of our minds as the work piles on. Welcome back to school everyone, step right here to punch your ticket and get on the struggle bus. No matter who I talk to, it seems that his or her degree is so much more work than anyone else’s. This is particularly true for the seniors, whose schedules are absolutely packed and are scrambling to get everything done in time for graduation. It’s going to be tough, and you have my deepest sympathy. To those that have schedules with weekends starting on Thursdays at noon, I salute you. Preferably with a nice cold pint.
To everyone this year, be it your first or last semester here in Durham, I want to give some perspective if you are feeling anxious: it’s going to feel worse. Yeah, I’m not sugar coating that one. Something is not going to go as perfectly as planned and it will seem like the end of the world. Not that the world actually will end, but staring down those challenges will certainly open the bottomless pit in your stomach. Whether or not they are the kind of problems you can control, remember the proverb: “this too shall pass.” The proverb’s origins are rooted in a Persian fable of a king that desired a ring that would change his mood to his whims. His councilors simply gave him an ordinary ring engraved with those words. With that tough - love advice, the king realized that only he could determine his own happiness.
Those were the words given to me, and now I give to you. As much as anyone who misquotes a dead man is allowed to.
Today’s problems will morph into tomorrow’s successes and those into next week’s new crisis. Do not wish away time waiting for the troubles to pass. Make each day an opportunity. Save an hour a day in your packed schedule to do something you really want to do, for you. I highly doubt that even the busiest student cannot manage their time enough to make room for one activity a day to relax. Your happiness from this will be the safeguard against the stress of everyday trials. Overcoming these challenges are what will make tomorrow great, and even those opportunities will be gone if you wait too long. When you tell others of your life story, how much of it do you want it to be ‘I just did what others wanted from me?’
You are going to have to work to get to where you want to be. Take this as a great opportunity, not as a life of burden. Just remember that while the end goal is important, learning to enjoy life in between the challenges is more important.
This is my fifth year at the University of New Hampshire, and hopefully my last as I, too, rush to check off degree requirements towards to my diploma. I watched last year’s batch of seniors go through a lot of fun and stress as they made the best of their last year of undergraduate college. Like many of us forewarned of these tough times, I would like to believe observing those mistakes has prepared me to weather the storm. I’m aware that it’s completely ridiculous to think I’m going to complete the year stress-free.
But I know now it’s time to make the best of it. Just let me take a quick break with a run first.