Finals Season is a crazy time

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Finals.

The worst concept ever created. Death is a more welcoming idea. Whoever thought that it would be a good idea to test students on every single class they’ve had in a matter of a week and have each of those tests be worth anywhere from 20% to 50% of your overall grade should get prize.

Like the complete opposite of a Nobel Peace Prize. A Hitler War Prize maybe.

Finals week is where the men are separated from the boys and it turns out everyone are boys. It really makes you put into perspective what important in your life. If you’ve been through it you’d understand and everyone should go through at least one finals week in their life because you can really find what your purpose is.

Just imagine this. You’re 2 finals in. They’ve weathered your confidence. Studying for Saturday’s two tests is looming over your head. Your eyes ache, your head hurts, and you have not moved from your spot in the library for hours.

What would you rather be doing instead? You start bargaining in your head. “If I study later tonight I can game for about an hour” or maybe “If I just study all night tomorrow, I’ll be able to write that novel I’ve been picking at for the past couple of weeks”

Whatever you’d rather be doing is the real you. You find out what you miss most and it can get pretty mundane. At one point, laundry became an escape from finals for me. I hate doing laundry.

Everyone is a little stressed about finals, but some either have such good grades that one C won’t hurt them while others need a 102 to pass the one last class they need to graduate. Semesters are defined in about a week. I remember freshman year I had A’s and A-‘s across the board. I was content. I was cocky. Why study for finals when I could watch some old cartoons I watched as a kid? I knew what happened in the episodes, but they’re still cool to watch. My good grades so far must mean that I already know everything that I need to know for the finals. I never stood a chance. My naivety was my downfall. That and my fascination with superhero cartoons.

I won’t give out any exact numbers, but it got ugly quick. Like 2017 politics ugly.

I vowed to never let that happen again. The pointless slaughter of my freshman GPA would not be in vain.

I started prepping. My notes marked dates and what the finals would cover. I’d figure out all my finals dates and when I should start studying for each weeks before finals reared its horrible mug. I can’t say that finals for me are easy in anyway, but I sure feel better during the week.

I got time to workout and write (with the occasional cartoon thrown in there). I mean sure I could study more to get that 89 on the final to a 90, but as long as my grades didn’t completely falter I’m content.

Other people I know don’t even bother preparing and it works fine for them. The stress finals puts them into some next level state where their sole purpose in life becomes to absorb information and then spout it out at given times during the test. It’s quite a sight. I’d ask them why they did that to themselves. Why hurt yourself for an entire week? It was the only way they knew and it got the job done. I feel like far too many people hold this philosophy and I respect that.

Some people don’t crack under pressure.

Finals affects everyone differently. At some base level everyone is stressed. I feel like I can relate better with other students because I know they’re feeling something similar to me. However, I don’t handle stress well. You can tell from a distance when I’m stressed; I dress worse, my hair is messy because I play with my hair when I’m unnerved, and above all else I’ll get a forehead full of bright red pimples. Don’t let the appearance full you, I’m used to the stress. I am always some level of stress about something and it is a habit I’m trying to fight off. I’m more focused when I’m stressed, hence why my high school baseball coach referred to me solely as “Mr. Clutch”. I stepped up when it mattered, but man do I feel horrible the whole time doing it.

I try to keep to my routine during finals. Try to eat as healthy as always (with obvious failure), workout everyday, and sleep in a regular cycle.

Some people show no signs of change. A girl I know still dresses like its just another day, her makeup is on like nothing is new, and her demeanor is just as happy as if she was at Disney World. It’s sickening. However, when we sat down to study, she broke down mentally. “I am so screwed, I don’t know anything. I should just drop out”. Fucking hell. Finals got to her too.

Finals induces stress which is dealt with in a variety of ways or not at all. It pushes you mentally and that can leave your body in a way worse off space.

One of my friends from back home always posts stories about him working until 4 AM and then starting his day again at 7 AM. It’s both a shame and a marvel to watch. The kid always tries his best, but putting shit up can add up quick. If I had to choose one piece of advice I could tell myself about finals when I was younger it would either be get as much sleep as you usual do (granted that isn’t much), plan waaaaaaaay ahead for finals, or maintain a routine so your body doesn’t go into shock from the sudden 3 all-nighters in a row.

My high school teacher would tell us while studying for the AP exams, “The hay will already be in the barn the day of the test”. You either know it or you don’t. At some point forcing anything else is only counterproductive.

Or at least I think that’s what that meant. Whatever, I should be studying right now anyways.

Dealing with Stress in College

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Everyone gets stressed. Or at least every human gets stressed. It’s a good feeling to have, but not exactly a good one to feel. It reminds you what you have to do and the significance of doing it right. Stress is good until it screws up what you’re trying to do.

However, that was more for our ancestors, keeping us alert when we thought predators were nearby. It’s a bit harder to focus on a test when you can barely breath properly. You can sneak by without dealing directly with stress pretty easily in high school. The workloads can be brutal, but at the end of the day classes aren’t designed to potentially give you a 40 (except for my honors chemistry class, I hated that class)

College is the perfect storm of stress though. The difficulty jumps up to a whole new level and its entirely up to you on how to approach the problem. Do you not go to your 8 AM classes so your not as tired? Or do you skip your night class so you can go to bed at a reasonable hour? And that’s just classes. Imagine a part time job, relationships, sanity, all that can really add up.

Stress is as common as the common cold on a campus. Most people just kinda ride the waves, only really freaking out when Finals come and other major tests. Is there a cure doc? Meh, depends on who you are.

I know a girl who would just bounce a volleyball on a wall for a couple minutes and completely simmer down. As her neighbor I could hear every single instance and would shoot out a quick, “What’s wrong?” text until it stopped. I tried something similar in retaliation with a football, but it worked me up more than anything. At one point I was pretty sure the wall was going to give in before my stress. Sometimes all you really need is that small activity once in a while to set things straight. If there is a basketball near me, I’ll throw it up in the air and catch it. Nothing revolutionary, just a nice feeling.

Some find that one athletic activity that gets their mind off things. Weightlifting makes you feel more powerful and in control. Nothing feels better than letting out all your frustration on a barbell stacked with weight. If you can move it, then you can do anything. Running and other cardio workouts can give you the time to either work out what you’re going through or give you that clear head you need to resolve what you need to. Sports as a whole can encompass either of the above and usually include that added social element. Even during finals, my roommates and I would find the time to play basketball. Trash-talk is a great release is all I’m saying and plenty social.

Being social is something I’ve never been good at, but socializing can be that exact mental break one needs. Being around other people you enjoy being around, especially those who are more positive can really alter your perspective on things. Whether it be talking about what is stressing you out or shooting the shit with your buddies can do wonders. Sometimes stress reaches the point where it consumes you and all that is needed is a step-back. People (and animals) are pretty good at helping others out in their time of need.

A more unusual approach I came across in college is meditation. Now I’m not saying you need to give up on all earthly possessions and shave your head. All it really is is taking 10-15 minutes where you sit in silence, taking deep breaths, and not think about anything. It gives your head a little break from a day full of stimulation and constant nagging. It is not an end all cure and it won’t make you some sort of enlightened person, but a little “mind time” never hurt.

Not all stress releases are good though. Some people have a release that works once for them and it becomes their crutch. In the long run they may hurt more than the stress being dealt with.

A vast majority of kids drink and smoke until they don’t remember why they were even worried in the first place. There are plenty of reasons why this is not the best approach, but sometimes the biggest hindrance is stress itself. My friend’s best papers were written while he was not sober. He’d stress over his diction and grammar when he wasn’t smoking, but once he was in the right state of mind, he’d just let his ideas flow out. It reached the point where he required to be high to do homework. God forbid he ran out of weed, the kid would come to a complete halt academically and it was pretty pathetic. Alcohol and drugs are okay if its a one and done kind of arrangement, but reaching the point where they become a necessity is never a good sign.

Others just live with it. Every second is stressful, yet what’s the harm? Yesterday I was stressed so what does it matter if it continues? Riding out stress is a brutal habit I had early in high school. Why deal with the stress if I was gonna get stressed the very next day. I rode the wave of stress and did not do shit to stop it. I’m not going to say it was the worst option, it did get me through some rough patches, but man did it suck. Life was just a blur at the time and the only constant in my life seemed to be the stress. It’s not a part of my life I look back at fondly.

There are definitely other ways to deal with stress out there. I’m sure I’m forgetting a good chunk of methods. Feel free to share your own and who knows maybe I’ll pick it up too. Stress sucks, but it’s not an impossible solution. We’re only human.

Everyone Hates Dentists

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One of the most relatable childhood problems was a dislike for the dentist. There was a weird smelling waiting room with other people who did not want to be there. Sitting there was never laughing or playing, just a somber silence with the occasional sound of drilling or metal scraping teeth.The smell has a faint doctor’s office feel, yet there is something more pungent with all the spit and open mouths that makes it worse. Cartoons tend to exaggerate every aspect of one’s childhood, but even as a young adult the dislike is still there.

No fully functioning adult goes to the dentist voluntarily. “I’d love to go to the movies this weekend, but I got this sweet dental appointment that day”. If you’re healthy, there should not be a force on this earth to prevent you from not going. Except one’s mother of course.

Maybe its the pain associated with it. Having hooks scrape your teeth and gums for what seems like hours is not good for one psyche. Having to remain motionless as a complete stranger goes to town on your mouth, the only stimulation being some weird motivational poster with zebras on it on the ceiling. I have been going to the same dentist for 15 years and I still have not deciphered its meaning. Perhaps its a message from past patients who could not bear the process and bled to death from their gums.

The atmosphere sucks. The process itself hurts and sucks. But NOTHING compares to immediate feeling after the cleaning is done.

Whenever I go to the dentist I try to stay positive with the dentist. I talk about what has been happening in college, ask them about their kids, just trying to make the situation as bearable as possible. In a few minutes that person is going to be knuckles deep in your mouth with metal objects, it’s wise to keep them on your side.

I’ve always been the kinda guy who tries to keep as healthy as possible, teeth included. I floss everyday, I brush twice a day, and I brush for the full two minutes with an electric toothbrush. I only forget to brush like once a week. I’m the ideal dental patient. Dental colleges (are those a thing) should be paying me to be a model or something. Every time I go into the dentist chair I’m confident that this will be the time that they find no real problems with my mouth. I’ve finally overcame that hump. I’m no longer a disgusting heathen, brushing his teeth with sugar and Sprite.

But even if the appointment is quick, the dentist’s composure hides the truth. Before it begins, they’re talkative with me, smiling and asking questions. We’re best friends. Then they have work on my mouth. It changes them. The dentist won’t even look me in the eyes. They lost a little bit of their humanity by working on my mouth. I’m pretty sure they schedule my appointments so the dentist who works on me can go home, take a cold shower, and smoke a couple cigarettes. I change dentists or something. This horrible environment is nothing compared to the monster I am in their eyes.

I swear I do everything they tell me to, but I’ll always have a disgusting mouth. Whatever. I hate dentists. I just won’t tell that to their faces.

How to Make a Life Changing Decision

Changes in your life can make or break you as a person. Making the right choice on a decision can lead to you hanging at the chillest restaurants and wearing the freshest clothes. Making the wrong choice and oh man. You’re stuck spending the rest of your life thinking “What if?”. The answer to that question may not be the best to think about. Beating yourself up about it won’t help you at all and eventually you’ll have to face Everyone will have at least two or three of these in their lives.

Should I ask her out?

Should I really move across the country for this job?

Should I post my naked ass on the internet?

There are no definite answers for questions like these (except the last one, trust me). I’m sure you’ve spent hours weighing pros and cons. It’s always good to do this, just to see exactly where your fears and aspirations lies with the decision. Some might seem a bit far-fetched,

“If I move to the desert, I’m at an increased likelihood of being struck by a meteor, but at the same time vending machine accident probability goes way down”

That is the kind of thought that keeps me up at night…

Not only will there be an immediate impact when you make that decision, there will be residual outcomes and unspecified side effects. The world will keep spinning even after you make your decision, unless that decision was stopping the Earth from spinning. That back tattoo of a butterfly will infuriate your parents and they’ll cut off your $1000 allowance. Joining an underground fight club will lead to you blowing up a bunch of credit card companies’ buildings. You know typical x causes y, but then z,q,r,and p too. Once the decision is made understand that there will be an afterwards.

There is a lot of emotion that goes along with making a decision like moving across the country. Your parents will miss you and you’ll miss the free rent. You shouldn’t just move because you’re angry at your parents and its all a part of your parents’ punishment. You need to be as objective as possible. You might change you’re mind when you see how much it costs to even live in a cardboard box in Los Angeles. Spend a day relaxing and free of others before making a decision and before the days comes when you make the final decision repeat and see if there were any doubts during that window of time.

The final piece to making the decision is acceptance of your decision. No matter what your decision is there will be positives and negatives. Different people in your life will disagree with either decision and its up to you to accept the decision you’ve made. Be proud of the decision you’ve made, knowing that you did whatever you had to to make the best of your situation. I guarantee it won’t be a perfect life afterwards, yet its almost comforting in a sense that both decisions have their own flaws to them. If you’re lucky enough to still have the chance to go back on your decision later, just be ready to go through the same process above to undo it, BUT ONLY IF YOU KNOW WITH 100 PERCENT CERTAINTY THAT ONE CHOICE HAD MORE NEGATIVES.

You’re molded by your decisions and its from this mold that the current you is made. That current you will also be in charge of future decisions so do what you can to make the decisions as easy as possible. Everyone will have a difficult decision in their life at one point or another, so make sure you can help others when they go through something similiar.