Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Stressed Overachievers

Stress is a part of our everyday life and is one of the hardest aspects of life to overcome. Whether work or family stress, people handle it in their own ways. Stress is very common in college students now and days. The average college student will have a job alongside with schoolwork. There are also students who are in programs, sports, and extracurricular activities which tend to have more stress put upon them. Would it be easier if all stress were taken out of their lives? Perhaps, but the everyday stress that is put upon overachieving students is healthy for their personalities, along with teaching them needed skills to handle stress. These few essentials are good qualities to have and it contributes to becoming successful individuals.

In S. L. Kim’s article, Springtime Thoughts, she talks about the stress put on athletes in college. Now an academic advisor on a college campus, she talks about here past years of rowing. Being a past member on her college rowing club, she experienced a great amount of stress as an athlete and student. Kim rowed every year in college, but decided to quit half way through her senior year so she can concentrate on school. Happy with her decision, she still missed the sport, but she also thought about all the opportunities she missed because of crew. Later, becoming an academic advisor, S. L. Kim deals with students that are in the same situation as she was. These students will give up class and work to make it to practice or to a competition. In Kim’s article, she is upset with the coaches who put this on their students, knowing that it conflicts with their school work. Thus this brings up her argument in her web log. Her main focus is her students and their careers as students, but she “can’t help but get angry at the nameless and faceless coaches who put seemingly unreasonable demands on my students’ time and energy.” Though she is upset with the coaches, she doesn’t understand why some students don’t quit their sport and concentrate on school. Kim realizes that anyone can quit but she understands how hard it is to quit.

S L Kim feels that her student’s coaches put to much stress on them. She also thinks that her students will do much better if they were to quit their sport or organization. S. L. Kim does not realize or perhaps has forgotten that students get a great deal out of sports or organizations. Not only can students express themselves, but they improve themselves mentally. It does however put a great amount of stress on the students, having them keep up with their activity and their schoolwork. Stress should not be looked at as a negative though. In order to overcome stress, one must learn methods to handle it. Such methods are managing time, setting priorities, making commitments, and being responsible. These skills are very useful to have practiced at a young age. Reinforcing these skills will make future stresses easier to overcome.

S. L. Kim mentioned that when she quit crew, school became much easier to handle. She could concentrate on her work and take a further interest in the class. Through personal experience, quitting crew helped with school greatly, but what helped the most were the skills learned from managing multiple activities. These skills give a student an upper hand over others. Having the ability to cope with multiple stresses makes dealing with one much easier. In order to be successful in college, and in an organization or activity, you must develop these skills early. What the author argues is that the stress is brought on by the coaches. The coaches put unreasonable demands on the students, which ultimately can result to doing poor in school. Kim wonders why students put themselves through that kind of stress, also why they don’t just quit their activity and concentrate on school. What needs to be done is this: if the student is capable of doing the work and activity, what needs to be done to help them improve. In other cases, if the student is not capable, then possibly consider concentrating on schoolwork rather then the activity.

What the author is suggesting is that students should concentrate on schoolwork rather then activities, sports, and organizations. I agree that school is more important, but students should be able to express themselves in some way. Personally I was in S. L. Kim’s position when it came to me quitting crew. I do miss the sport but I was relieved by having that stress taken away. Though I did not have an activity to excel on, thanks to crew, I was able to learn skills to deal with stress and deadlines. These skills help me manage multiple activities, and without the stress of someone without these reinforced skills. I considered crew a learning experience; it helped me develop people and time management skills. These will be helpful to have later in life and for my career.

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