Keep your head up

Sara Petersen

I have recently taken up guitar, and even though I’ve had plenty of musical experience, I find it really hard. I was in choir, concert, marching and jazz bands, and I took piano for a few years, but guitar leaves me frustrated and with angry red welts on my fingertips.

I have also learned that life right now is really hard. I’m taking 18 credit hours, I’m involved with many on- and off-campus groups, and I’m finding that fitting in a social life is almost impossible. I have had constant heartburn for the past three days, and between my stress level and the copious amounts of coffee I’ve been pouring down my throat, I’m pretty sure I’m giving myself an ulcer. Panic attacks come often, and emotional meltdowns are what the cool kids must be doing these days because two weeks won’t go by without me having one.

Now don’t get me wrong: I know I’m not the only person with an extremely heavy workload. I have many friends who don’t even have time for a five-minute conversation via instant messenger for a quick update about their weeks; one has a shoe box full of words she needs to study for the Graduate Record Exam. Last time I talked to her she made plans to turn it into a drinking game.

Why do we put such enormous burdens on ourselves? It’s because we can. I know when I spend hours on an assignment for a difficult teacher and then see a spiky red A on top of the paper a week later, I find every second was worth it. It’s like a balloon inside my chest has been inflated and I’m the happiest person on campus.

To make it worth it, the best thing to do is to take one day at a time, and don’t forget to give yourself a reality check.

Be realistic when it comes to deciding how involved you’ll get with groups and organizations. You can’t do everything.

Your teachers are not all going to be brilliant, and they’re not all going to be sympathetic and smile at everything you say. Some are going to be downright nasty, but it’s OK. Just hold on and ride it out.

Remember that not everybody is going to agree with you. As a columnist, I definitely know that. However, don’t be insulted by constructive criticism. It is really amazing how helpful that can be.

Have fun. You’re in college; don’t forget that once you get out in the “real world” you can’t have the experiences that are only available here. If you can’t, find a way. Study with someone from one of your classes and have a jolly good time bashing your teacher, grab a cup of coffee afterward, and make a new friend.

Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in because if you don’t, then what’s the point? All of the most famous people in history are remembered because they stood up for something that the vast majority thought was wrong.

Even though it may seem that you’re going to drown, you will see the light at the end of the tunnel. This doesn’t exactly pertain to classes or work either; it goes with everything in life from learning guitar to recovering from a serious illness or injury to struggling with a friend or family member.

In the famous words of Michael Scott, from “The Office”: “Never ever give up.”

Sara Petersen is a junior public relations major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].