(Nicolas Floyd)

By

With Dead Week, finals, graduation and summer just around the corner for students, excitement should be abundant at Eastern. “Should” is the operative word, because the same students who should be excited are the ones who hardly even have time to breathe.For many of us, at this point in the semester, focusing on “the future” means focusing on the project due in seven days instead of the one that’s due in four. And that’s a mistake in triage. It doesn’t do students a lot of good to plan for what happens after graduation if they might die of exhaustion before then.

It’s nothing new-every year professors seem to conspire to make group projects, term papers, presentations, exams and semester reports due over the course of these two weeks.

It’s the nature of the beast, and it’s what we sign up for, so complaining doesn’t get us very far. Still, with so many students working one or more jobs, active in a half dozen organizations and attending school full-time, it makes one wonder what young adults with 9-5 jobs have to complain about themselves.

In any case, the best ways to deal with the pressure can be some of the most obvious, but can also be those things right under your nose that you don’t even notice. The Progress has outlined a handful of sanity solutions for Eastern students here.

1) Take advantage of every moment you have to sleep

This comes along the same lines as the last point, but with a more cautionary tone. You may need a few all-nighters here and there to ensure this project or that paper gets finished on time, but you don’t need an all-nighter to watch television or piddle on Facebook. If you find yourself falling into that trap, staying up to watch reruns of Family Guy on TBS, ask yourself if what you’re up to is more important than a good night’s sleep, and if the answer is “no,” stop messing around and get to bed. All-nighters are never fun, but they’re likely to happen sooner or later. The more sleep you have before them, the better you’ll feel when you stare down the barrel of one. Prioritize sleep when you can, and you’ll be amazed what a difference it makes.

2) Take advantage of every moment you have to relax

This sounds foolish, as people under the most stress feel as if they can never afford to relax, but it’s not as backwards as it seems. Sometimes it’s not so much that we’re out of time, but we’re out of energy. If you feel exhausted rather than stressed, this likely applies to you.

Taking deep breaths is a start, but why not do it in the Ravine, even if it’s only for 10 minutes? Those 10 minutes probably aren’t going to make the difference between an A and a B, but they might make the difference between feeling overwhelmed and keeping your cool. The weather has been beautiful these past few weeks, and so has Eastern. Take advantage of the gorgeous campus we have, and seize those 10 minutes of fresh air lying on a blanket in the grass.

Nab a to-go meal from Casa Fiesta, Tsing Tao or Penn Station (who each won awards in The Progress’ “Best of Richmond Poll”) to consolidate tasks if you have to. If you’ve got more than 10 minutes (maybe an hour), get to Lake Reba. If you’ve got more than that (maybe half a day), get to the Pinnacles. Don’t wear yourself out – just recharge those batteries. If you’re lucky, you’ll see Tillie; puppies are good for the soul.

3) Let Eastern help

The university offers a handful of helpful, stress-reducing services. One of the most obvious is the Fitness and Wellness Center for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it always feels good to blow off some steam. If you’ve got an hour, you’ve got enough time to hit the track or the weights and work some of the tension out of your body. If a social setting suits you, sign up for a group fitness class at any point during the week. Zumba remains the most popular, but you can also choose from activities like cycling, dance fusion or yoga. These classes are completely free for students, and you can register at www.campusrec.eku.edu/fitness.

Also at campus recreation’s Web site, students can make an appointment for an on-campus massage from a certified massage therapist. A good massage can be a lifesaver, and if you’ve ever felt relieved from a simple shoulder rub, imagine what a half hour of tension relief could do. While it’s not a complimentary service, it’s extremely affordable (even for students).

Finally, take advantage of comedians, concerts and the infamous “Midnight Breakfast.” Reminding yourself that there’s life outside of textbooks and word documents can save you.

4) Find your Bubba

Remember that part of Forrest Gump where Forrest and Bubba sit in total darkness and in the rain in Vietnam? It’s the part when Bubba turns to Forrest and says: “I’m ‘onna lean up ‘gainst you, an’ you just lean right back ‘gainst me. This way we don’t have to sleep wit’ our heads in the mud.”

Don’t underestimate the role your friends, family or even your professors can play in getting you through hardships. Positive reinforcement is important, and if you can’t convince yourself that you’ll live to see June, they might change your mind.

Believe them when they say you’ll be OK-they’re not about to let you sleep with your head in the mud. You’ve got to trust in “your best good friends.