The Absurdity of Pressure

By Ronja Iding

For every student who is struggling with pressure and being overworked, and especially for everyone who is new to university

There comes a time in your life when you say goodbye to your school days and start living in the real world. You either go to university or go on to other things. If you’re reading this, you’ve likely chosen the former.

During your first semester you are thrown into the lion’s den for the first time. And it’s stressful, like every new experience is at first. You’re new, so you’re automatically at a disadvantage. Perhaps, you’re not only going to university; you might have moved out and into a new city, you might have a job to pay for some of the things your parents paid for over the last 18 years, and you might deal with stress and pressure in many ways.

You’re probably constantly asking yourself what is expected of you, and you’re not reaching any conclusions. This might leave you helpless and on edge.

Well, here’s a suggestion that helped me: Instead of wondering what others expect of you, maybe ask yourself when the last time you caught a break was. When was the last time you did something for yourself, something fun? Because that’s an aspect of studying you should never forget. It’s necessary to do your work, but you must find balance. You must find your own way of doing things; and that’s what first semester is all about. Settling in, getting the hang of things, and doing it your way.

You are not supposed to worry about what others expect of you, but you still worry about it. Because it’s not easy to block social pressure out. You worry if you’ll make enough money once you’re a full-grown adult, if you will be content with your job, if you will be happy with your life and be able to get up every morning to get on with it.

So, it is a stressful time. One minute you were sitting on a chair in school listening to your boring math teacher talk about equations and waiting for the bell to ring so you could go home and watch Pretty Little Liars and the next minute you are driving from work to university and from university to the grocery store, then you make a quick stop at the gas station losing a 50 to high gas prices and only after  all that you get to go home at 8 pm and sleep.

When you get a moment to yourself to relax, you cannot do that. You’re too busy thinking about how you should be studying rather than sitting on your ass. You should be making money right now because technically you’re an adult now. You should be going faster.

But this is to tell you that you ARE entitled to breaks and you ARE allowed to enjoy your life and have fun. Because guess what? You still have a long life ahead of you. You still have tons of time to work. And you must remember to always put yourself first. I know it might seem hard – or even impossible – to do so at this rate, but its important to enjoy your life to the fullest.

You’re overwhelmed at the moment because everything you’re experiencing is new. But this feeling will pass and in a year this will all be old again. So, you’ll be fine.

You can work one day and go to an amusement park the next. You can travel the world and meet new people. You can spend the whole day on your couch watching Star Wars. And you can take a break whenever you need one. Life is not going to pass you by because you stop working for a minute.

Instead, it’s going to pass you by if you don’t take time to enjoy it. As Ferris Bueller once said, Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. So instead of wasting your time worrying about something you cannot control, do something you always wanted to do. And never once stop to wonder what could have been if you had done things differently.

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