By Lindsay Huffman

My mom absolutely loathes cockroaches. So when she saw one of the dreaded creatures creeping on the ground toward her, she did what any normal person might do-she tried to beat it with the edge of a laundry basket.

As she unsuccessfully tried to kill the bug, I watched her from the steps.

She just kept trying, trying and trying, but as her panic increased her aim worsened, and the bug continued to evade her every move.

As comical as the scene was, I decided to help my mother.

“Mom, why don’t you use the air hockey mallet instead?”

She took my advice, and bam-the problem was solved.

As silly and short as the whole ordeal was, I couldn’t help but wonder how many times I and a thousand others had done the same thing in life.

When something frightening or intimidating comes our way, our first instinct is to panic-to freak out and use our pointless laundry baskets to only worsen the problem.

And with all the problems in our society today, it’s no wonder that everyone is in a constant state of frenzy.

Hypochondria has become almost as contagious as H1N1 itself.

The economy is continually fluctuating, but according to some people, none of that matters anyway because the world is going to end in 2012.

Basically, the state of things is looking grim right now, and yes, these “cockroaches” of life can be a bit overwhelming at times.

But maybe instead of using our laundry baskets, we should use our heads instead.

So how do we do that? We use common sense.

Common sense shows me that H1N1 is a lot like the regular flu, so instead of not touching any surface without latex gloves, I just make sure to wash my hands regularly.

Rather than worry if our economy is going to crash, I mindfully watch my funds, as any college student should.

And despite all of the rumors about 2012, I barely have enough time to think about what is going to happen in the next week.

But all of this information is not new.

Every day, we see signs that our world is really not as bad off as it seems.

H1N1 can be treated-it’s a fact.

Our economy has improved within the last year-it’s a fact.

Any possible disasters of 2012 will not be occurring at any point within the next two years-it’s a fact.

Just like I advised my mother, these facts advise us that we can still be optimistic about overcoming any challenges we face.

And just like my mother listened to me, perhaps we should listen to the facts around us.

So why have I spent my time and effort talking about cockroaches and crises?

My point is simply this-stop worrying.

When life throws you a cockroach, don’t panic. Listen to those around you.

And most importantly, use common sense to conquer any fears you may have.

If we can all work together, then we can become the heroic air hockey mallet, and bam-our problems can be solved.