Mar 262012
Authors: Allison Sylte

I was totally going to write a well thought-out and insightful column about something that profoundly matters to our community.

But then, seemingly small things — like a programming assignment, a paper for CO 300, my other classes, work, sleep, maybe working out and the season premiere of “Mad Men” — got in the way, piling up until I was enveloped in a firestorm of stress, followed by a never-ending cycle of procrastination interspersed with fleeting glimpses of productivity.

That’s right folks: It’s midterm season, and even Collegian columnists like myself are not infallible to their wrath. So I thought I’d share with you, my faithful reader(s?), some of my tips for handling the onslaught of stress that has hijacked our health, safety and sanity.

Stress Tip #1: Get in pointless arguments with your friends

There’s nothing that brings people together like fighting about something stupid. It’s a great stress reliever, and a low-risk chance to let out some of your deep-seated aggression on fellow human beings.

My favorite pointless argument topic is, “If you could have any superpower, what would it be?” If someone answers anything but flying (obviously the coolest and most practical superpower), they’re wrong. I have friends who want to be invisible (um … creepy), teleport (wow … that’s lazy) and float (wtf?!), and all of them have been verbally accosted into submission.

And in the process of breaking my friend’s spirits, I get less stressed out and spend a few well-earned minutes procrastinating. It’s a win/win situation for everyone!

Procrastination/Stress Tip #1: Go for a run

Yeah, it’s a healthy thing to do, but my favorite thing about running is that, if I run far enough, I’m too tired and useless to get anything done for the rest of the day, and there’s not much guilt that accompanies it. After all, who wants to do homework after a nine-mile trail run? No one, and that’s why you subject yourself to the pain. And the health benefits too … I guess.

Stress Tip #2: Whole Foods is your friend … as is every other store that sells food

It’s no secret that stress-eating is shame-inducing, but also kind of delightful, and probably will eventually lead to me being cast in a TLC special entitled, “The 4,000 pound woman who died after choking on a banana surrounded by a herd of labradoodles.”

Whole Foods is my go-to location for stress-eating, namely because of the ample free samples, and the fact that stress-eating isn’t bad as long as it’s organic. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

Procrastination/Stress Tip #2: Play “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword”

Sure, getting in pointless arguments is a great way to get rid of some aggression. And so is going on runs and enjoying free hummus over at Whole Foods. But sometimes, you just need to kill something.

And if you aren’t a fan of hunting or committing felonies, playing Zelda, which gives you the realistic power to swing your Wii-mote like a sword and kill mystical trolls, is the next best thing.

I recommend the forest level: it’s both soothing AND lethal.

Procrastination Tip #1: Play a “friendly” game of pool

This kind of ties into the tip about getting into pointless arguments with your friends, but one of my personal favorite ways to relieve stress is going to the Ramskeller with a victim of my choice and shamelessly annihilating them in an innocent game of pool.

Obviously, it’s not just about winning (although as Vince Lombardi would say, “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing”). It’s about trash-talking. It’s about making your friend think that you’re a deranged egomaniac. And it’s about giving yourself a chance to feel like you’re good at something, since homework has taken that sense of fulfillment away from you.

Stress/Procrastination Tip #3: There’s light at the end of the tunnel. It’ll be fine.

This is kind of a cop-out, I know. But trust me: Midterm season is fairly short, and in a few weeks, we’ll be released into the splendid world of summer vacation.

Maybe if all of us avoid procrastination, actually get our work done and think rationally, we won’t have to get in fistfights over superpowers (but seriously … flying is the way to go), get kicked out of Whole Foods for abusing free samples or alienate our friends over petty disagreements at the billiards table (I’ve always wanted to say that).

Maybe, if you disregard all of this advice, you’ll actually pass your midterms. In the meantime, pray that I do.

Content Managing Editor Allison Sylte is a junior journalism major. Her column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. She can be reached at or on Twitter @AllisonSylte.

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