Stressful bragging begets frustration
December 5, 2007
Several things bother me. One of the worst is the needle, which I find to be unnatural. I have ended more doctors visits passed out on the floor than I care to recount.
p. Yet, there are things which irritate me more than needles — like when someone reminds me of how busy they are. To be frank, I would rather be stabbed by a million syringes than suffer through a single conversation about how busy someone else is.
p. We are all guilty of this infraction against goodness. After all, we go to the College. It’s no University of Virginia (zing!), but we still suffer through rigorous course loads. With clubs and jobs, it is a wonder that anyone has time to watch “Grey’s Anatomy.” People tell me this show rocks, yet my instincts tell me that an ensemble drama about young doctors working in a hospital can only be so earth shattering.
p. The point is this: We all lead busy lives. Unfortunately, some of our fellow students forget this fact. These assholes, as I have taken to calling them, come in three varieties. The first can be called the really-is-more-busy-than-you asshole. These jerks tend to major in science or something incredibly boring for which countless exams and lab reports drain them of precious “Grey’s Anatomy”-watching time.
p. Students of another ilk I refer to as assholes who are just as busy but their work is more important than yours. The title explains itself, but fails to capture just how annoying these people can be. With these jerks, it is implied that the lives they lead are more important. Time they devote to a paper on AIDS is significantly more important than the hours you waste writing a pilot about young veterinarians working in a pet hospital.
p. There is a third category of students. These I refer to as people who cannot handle the stress of being busy and get overwhelmed easily. For some students this means a debilitating mental condition like anxiety disorder or manic depression. For others, like myself, this means a slightly inconvenient heart condition; whenever I feel too mentally taxed my heart pumps too fast and I pass out.
p. This happened countless times when I was in high school. I would be in the middle of a presentation when I would pass out and wake up with my technology class cramped around my crumpled form. Or one time I was on a ski trip stressing about an upcoming English paper and then I passed out while in line for the chair lift. It wasn’t until freshman year of college that I realized something was wrong.
p. It was the second semester of college, and I was overwhelmed with important tasks. I had two papers to write and two exams all in the same week. In addition, I was training for a half-marathon the following month. One moment I was standing in line at the Caf and the next I woke up bleeding on the floor. I fainted and fell on my glasses, which sliced open the skin just below my eyebrow. On my ambulance ride to the hospital, I realized I might have a stress problem.
p. My solution has been simple. I did not decide to take an easier academic load. I did not uncommit myself from extracurricular activities. I did not see a heart specialist about my condition. Instead I just try to take things less seriously. This means slacking off on some reading when I feel slightly overwhelmed, or watching an episode of some inane television show when stress leaves me light-headed.
p. When I was a busy bastard, I only felt validated if other people recognized my hard work. We are a generation that constantly seeks validation. We strive for good marks, diplomas from prestigious universities and jobs as high-ranking government officials. We are so busy we often forget the things in life that really matter — things like friendships and crappy television dramas.
p. In lieu of holiday cheer, I will end this column with some sage advice: If you feel overly taxed in the coming weeks, don’t fret. Instead, take a break from what you are doing. In my free time I will be writing a mystery novel about car detailers. If baking is more your thing, have at it. Whatever you do, don’t get too miffed. And don’t complain to someone else about how busy you are. Chances are, they are busy too.
p. __James Damon is a Confusion Corner columnist. He would watch “Grey’s Anatomy,” but they use needles.__