The academic flu

It’s the home run, the final stretch, the longest hour. Whatever you call it, it’s the end of the year: the time when exhaustion really kicks in. Up until now, I was facing the common flu of the academic sphere: writer’s block. My brain’s mucus was probably caused by self-imposed stress, working myself like a gear to produce epic amounts of work in a relatively small fraction of time. During my illness, I found that everything I wrote went straight to the tissue-filled trash: it was all garbage. To give more perspective, I rewrote this article about three times; to me, it just didn’t feel genuine. I then realized that maybe this blockage going from my nasal canal to my brain was just as contagious as any other virus. Maybe it’s something airborne. This contagion had to be something in the air, something affecting not only myself, but others as well. They responded to the question “Why are you so stressed?”

Catalina Berretta (11):  I woke up and I realized that it is already May, meaning the grades that I have are the grades that I have. Because in 6 months, I will have to be an essay that sets me apart from thousands of other applicants in 600 words.

Carol Kim (11): Because, I am a teenage girl. Period.

Sammi Gistren (12) and Gabi Campos (12): We’re not stressed anymore. We had 6 exams in the past 10 hours—that was the most stressful time of our lives. (Gabi) I’m stressed because our class is a unit and I’m never going to have that unit again. In college, you can’t have a unit of a 1,000 people; it just doesn’t work.  I’ll miss that. (Sammi) I’m stressed because seven years of people I know is coming to an end in two weeks.

Michael Kern (10): Several things, including: excessive amount of school and little time to do that schoolwork.

Nick Reinhart (12): I’m stressed because juniors are already invading the senior lawn.

Philip Abrams (12): I just can’t sell my post-prom tickets.

Daniel Felberg (11): I tried to watch a Snapchat story from CNN about North Korea, but the sound wasn’t working. So… I sent the Snapchat team a snap saying,“Yo guys, the North Korean story sound isn’t working,” and I saw them open it, but they didn’t respond! It’s driving me nuts.

Luiza Mizrahi (11): I just left so many things to the last moment and committed to way too much. Something I never realized, until it was too late.

Martina Proano (10): I’m not just kidding. I’m very stressed, almost dying, in fact.

Lucile Simon (12): Because I lost my unicorn. I mean, I would be stressed if I lost my unicorn.

Melanie de la Paz (12): I’m stressed because Lucile won’t stop singing.

Luuk Kuiper (11): The reason I’m stressed is because I feel that the burden of school, activities, and social life leaves me with little time to enjoy all of it to the maximum. I need to start sacrificing and making choices, which doesn’t feel fair to me.  It makes me super cranky. Sorry.

Michael Collins (13): Am I stressed? Do I come off as stressed? It’s really about taking pride in your work, and doing well; it’s self-stress. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t be stressed.

Michael Borger (11): Because you’re annoying me. Stop it.

Yoji Watanabe (11): Why are you assuming that I’m stressed, Faria?

Andrew Veilleux (12): I might not be the best candidate for this question: I’m actually not too stressed.  

Stress and its related symptoms are just as common as the cold, a virus, all those terrible ailments going around. Stress manifests itself differently in people; to me, it shows up in writer’s block, and in others, it shows up in irritable dispositions. Even though stress might not be a considered a serious condition that takes a great physical toil on us, it still does weaken our immunity to creativity, to productivity, just our mental well-being. Protecting yourself and setting up preventative measures might be crucial, like how ingesting fish oil is supposed to be good for your immune system. I doubt the solution to stress lies in a disgusting little pill, but your time and effort shouldn’t be consumed by work; there should be a certain pride that comes in being able to present yourself in your work, and being able to work on what you enjoy. Stress, although a burden, should be slightly enjoyable, since it is a self-imposed illness in showing care and compassion for what you put into the world.

If there is anything to take away from this article, besides the minutes of reading that let you escape academic intensity, it this: Know that you will indeed survive this stress season. And that vacation is getting closer.