Where do you turn when your world is tumbling around you?
When Editor in Chief Caleb Owens and I decided to write biweekly columns for the paper, we intentionally left the reins loose. The space was to be used for our weekly musings, ramblings, complaints or whatever else was top of mind.
This week, I considered adding to the pile of opinion pieces from across the country denouncing Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination bid (our editorial already takes a good look at that). But in a time when many are rightfully terrified that an alleged sexual predator will be placed on the highest court in the country for the rest of his life, I’d rather use my space to remind you that despite that perhaps all-consuming stressor we, as university students, are incredibly lucky to be in the positions we are.
That sentiment isn’t intended to make you feel guilty, or to invalidate your feelings because you have it “good enough,” but rather to encourage you to take a few moments every now and then to remind yourself of whatever it is that gives you a sense of purpose or brings a smile to your face.
Maybe your stress isn’t related to the never-ending flow of news from Capitol Hill but rather tomorrow’s exam or Friday’s project. It doesn’t matter what it is, we all share some form of pressure, anxiety, or stress that weighs on us as we go through our day-to-day, that we often cloak beneath a veneer of put-togetherness.
I was there last week. In my free moments, instead of taking a few minutes to relax and reflect, I worried about how I wasn’t being productive and made my mind race back to my never-ending to-do list.
In addition to serving as executive editor of The Review, I’m in charge of the sports department for the university’s student radio station, WVUD, I am the Vice President of the club cross country and track and field teams and I work two jobs.
I don’t need any pity — I chose to take on all of those responsibilities and am incredibly fortunate to not need to work either job (my modest income is mostly dedicated to El Diablo bowls. No matter how high they raise the prices, I can’t resist. I just finished one before I wrote this.) — but as someone who values being organized and easily accessible, I felt like I was losing my grip as I juggled these roles through yet another week.
With each hour I seemed to have five new emails about things I hadn’t gotten to yet. Most of my replies started with “Sorry I’m just now getting to this.” The frenzy was compounded by trying to keep up with the madness of the hearings.
Then Thursday I stopped.
Before my 8 a.m. yoga class (the reward for three years of real classes), my instructor asked us to set our intention for the session on a person that we valued. It was a departure from the typical cues, which ask us aspiring yogis to focus on a part of the practice itself (I generally focus on trying not to critique myself on each pose).
It was an easy task for me. Through it all I thought of my sister, who graduated from Delaware last spring and is now working in Reading about 90 minutes away. That night we’d be seeing Ed Sheeran at Lincoln Financial Field, but more importantly it would be our first time to really catch up since late August.
After that quick release, things seemed to slow down for me. Throughout the weekend, I focused on the people I’m close to and making the most of my time with them. Saturday morning my family came to see me race, as they always do, at Lehigh University. In the evening, I celebrated my roommate’s birthday and Sunday morning I rehashed the night with my buddy on a 12-mile run.
By 6 p.m. Sunday I felt normal again, having watched the Eagles choke away a winnable game with my Dad. It was the type of game the Eagles never seemed to win until last year, when they always seemed to win. Again, things were now back to normal.
It doesn’t have to be a person, or a party, or a run or anything in particular. There is no right way to reflect, to talk about mental health or to react to stress.
Odds are I will hold those feelings of stress and pressure again and that’s fine. It means I’m invested in what I’m doing. I just aim to continue taking moments here and there to reflect and appreciate those and that around me and I hope by sharing you can as well.
Brandon Holveck is the Executive Editor of The Review. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.