Academic stress overshadows holiday spirit

Jordan Holman, News Editor

We’re still full from Thanksgiving, but somehow we’ve already forgotten to be grateful.

Oh, the holidays. A time where joy and cheer pervade the air, Santa Clauses with made in China beards pop up in malls, and the annual controversy over a Starbucks paper cup commences. However, with this also comes underlying stresses finals, grades, and college. These anxieties should not define the core of the holidays.

It is easy to become swept up in a wind of stress and frustration, and when this happens, it often takes a culture of thankfulness away with it. We understand that this is not unavoidable and are guilty of this as well.

However, as the end of the semester approaches, it offers the perfect opportunity to change our mindset.

To think that an entire semester of hard work and determination culminates in a single exam is daunting. In the moment, you might think that the one exam is going to determine our entire future, but this isn’t the case at all.

So as long as work our hardest, we will earn a grade that we should be proud of. As we mature and graduate, our determination is a stronger and more accurate indicator of success; it is what should be prized over a silly letter grade or percentage.

That said, in no way is schoolwork unimportant; taking our studies seriously is essential to keeping things in perspective. Not everyone is even able to attend school, yet we are lucky enough to delve deep into favorite subjects, whether we’re most at ease in the art room crafting bowls or analyzing some Shakespeare or speaking a foreign language.

School-related stresses may extend over to the dinner table during the break at your annual family get-together. Chances are, nosy Aunt Matilda with her boyfriend 30 years younger than she is going to force you to talk about your grades or all of the colleges that you’ve been accepted to or are planning on applying to.

Yes, the last thing that we might want to do during the break is think about academics. But, chances are, our relatives are genuinely interested in hearing what you have to say and just want to get to know you more. Even if it may not seem like it in the moment, they truly care about us.

In the end, that’s what matters, not the absurd family dynamics and drama.

For the most part, our problems are miniscule. If we spent time fretting over every last thing that goes wrong, we would not accomplish anything.

No, this does not mean that our problems do not matter. It’s that we all can work just a little bit harder to take things into perspective, the only way that we can truly be happy.

Yes, it may be sappy, but it is a lesson that cannot be taught too many times. Regardless how we celebrate holidays it is important to remember to have gratitude for what we have instead of what we don’t.

So this holiday season, stop crying over spilled eggnog or burnt latkes and instead begin to give thanks.

We can’t stress this enough.