Stressed: More Than Just "Desserts" Spelled Backwards.


I'm writing this because I just received word that someone from my school- a fellow first-year student, whose name hasn't yet been released- committed suicide. And, considering that our student body is ~2500 people, it's probably someone I know or have at least had contact with.

(Update: As of an hour ago, the student's name has been released and it is someone I knew. Please keep his family and friends in your thoughts/prayers.)

Given the proximity of this event to the end of the school year (and exams), I wouldn't doubt that this person was stressed over his or her course load or that s/he wasn't doing as well as s/he felt s/he should be. That being the case, I just want to take this opportunity to remind you all (especially my fellow students) of a few things.

Stressed: More Than Just "Desserts" Spelled Backwards.

1) School isn't everything.

Yes, you read that correctly. Sure, you may feel that you're constantly studying your face off, haven't slept in a month, and that your classmate who only shows up every other Wednesday is still doing better than you... Maybe all of that's true, but chances are that it isn't.

Sure, grades are important: manage your time, get your work done, and hand things in when they're due. But don't beat yourself up over a bad grade- talk to your prof and find out what you can do better next time (because they care about your success too), then give yourself a break.

Join a club, have an end-of-week gathering with friends, or do something else you love (read a book, play a sport, whatever) to blow off steam. You deserve it.

Stressed: More Than Just "Desserts" Spelled Backwards.

2) Don't measure yourself by others' success or failure.

I get that today's job market is extraordinarily competitive. But, if you use your friend or classmate as a measuring stick, you are limiting yourself. Friendly competition is one thing, but if you constantly say things like, "I want to do better than so-and-so on this test", that's just better than so-and-so... which may or may not be your full potential.

Stressed: More Than Just "Desserts" Spelled Backwards.

3) Ask for help.

I can't stress this enough. Whether it's extra tutoring in a class you're struggling with or a personal issue you're trying to work through, there is help available: all you have to do is ask.

Most high schools and universities can pair you with a peer tutor, and their services are often cheap or free. If the trouble is personal, reach out to a friend, your RA (if you live in residence), or your religious leader; and, for serious mental-health issues, talk to a doctor or a counsellor at your school's wellness centre. All of these are excellent resources, and you'll find that there are tons of people who care about your well-being, if you only look.

And, please... if your friends are struggling, speak up. You are doing them no favours by staying silent.

Stressed: More Than Just "Desserts" Spelled Backwards.

4) Rome wasn't built in a day, so don't expect that you will be.

You're still growing, evolving, and learning. Everyone learns differently and, as Einstein put it, "if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will spent its life believing that it is stupid". Intelligence is multiply determined, and not doing so well in one class or subject is no indicator of how "smart" or not you are.

Just do your best, and that should always be good enough.

Stressed: More Than Just "Desserts" Spelled Backwards.

And, to my fellow students:

Stressed: More Than Just "Desserts" Spelled Backwards.


Stressed: More Than Just "Desserts" Spelled Backwards.
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