Nice To Meet You. Stressbucket*, Class of 2011.

13 May

I have always been a bucket of stress*.

Our buckets of stress are always a little bit full in our lives. Unless you live in a monastery in the hills of Tibet, surrounded by monks enveloping you in their peaceful ways, you are going to have some stress in your life as a given. Whether it’s a phone bill, or the threat of getting laid off, a family who is ill, or a broken-down car. I get it.

And for me, stress is at a constant, medium-level in my bucket. I know that it is just an aspect of my personality, and I know that I probably run best at this stressed out level. It’s as if I feel the pressure factor makes me propel myself forward. If I go to the gym, or relax and go see a film, or do something fun with friends, a small release valve appears and lets a little bit of stress go at a time.

Yesterday, however, something happened that has made my stressbucket overfloweth.

I started off my Tuesday with a great day at traffic court–haha, I know, traffic court?! Basically, I had a hold on my driver’s license due to lack of proof of insurance, and though the accusing police officer showed, both he himself and the bailiff dismissed it due to my valid proof of insurance and the extenuating circumstances.

But yesterday evening, I attended my second math class, more specifically Quantitative Analysis for Business. I knew that as a liberal arts major, the math involved in getting an MBA degree was going to be nasty, but I was not expecting to feel nauseous.

Yes, indeed. I felt like I was going to vomit.

I could see it happening.

Sitting there, in class, I felt the urge wash over me and I mentally mapped out how quickly I could do it if I had to make a dash for the ladies’ room.

At breaktime, a classmate wanted to talk to me about the assignment due in the Organizational Behaviour class that we were also taking together, and I know I made no sense in our conversation. I just kind of zoned out on the poor guy, and I feel badly. (And dangit, he is very cute, too. You know that something is very very wrong with LoveMeDeux when her mojo is impaired..!) I felt horrible. So this morning, I decided to speak with my academic advisor.

“Listen, I have had students who couldn’t even understand how to log into WaveNet (our online one-stop shop for students) take and pass this class.”

This made me feel better, but not that much better. I’m certain I’m an average student, but I don’t feel great knowing that there are those who are slightly lower than me who passed by the skin of their teeth. I mean, feck! I want to do well in this class, not just barely eke out a pass. Next person I called was my professor himself, who said:

“I have had Theatre Arts majors who haven’t taken math since high school pass this class. And the tests aren’t even worth that much in my class!”

That made me feel a little better. At least this prof is willing to work with me. And yes, I know it’s possible for me to take and pass this class with an okay grade. But sitting in that class last night, while freaking out, I actually pinged like crazy between the thoughts of,

“What if I belong in a J.D. program instead of an MBA?” to
“Is it too late to save face and drop this entire MBA program?” to
No, I’m sure I can get through this!”

I settled on the last one because I am not a fecking quitter. I AM NOT! But how does one get away from the pure anxiety and manic feeling associated with stressbucket mode to be able to relax and get through situations like this?

Oh wow, if I had the answer to that, I’d be the Dalai Lama’s BFF.

But I think that that will be the true lesson in my MBA experience. Not how to manage a underperforming department or provide brilliant leadership in a major Fortune 500 company. Not how to take game theory and apply it to forecast financial returns. Not any of that.

No. For me, it will be how to manage the stress, how to manage the anxiety and battle through it to get to my diploma at the other end of the tunnel. But I want tell you:

I held it, I did. I pressed down the overwhelming physical urge–but as soon as I made it to the parking garage after class last night, and as soon as I managed to lock myself safely away in my car–I threw up.

*I prefer saying “Stressbucket” as opposed to “Stressball”, because “Stressbucket” is more accurate terminology.


4 Responses to “Nice To Meet You. Stressbucket*, Class of 2011.”

  1. kyletolle 13 May 2009 at 10:38 pm #

    I am in the process of taking a stress management class and took another shorter one this quarter as well. They’re both really interesting, and you should see if they have something similar at your school.

    The quickest piece of advice I can give you is to focus on your breathing. This helps you take the focus and put it somewhere purposefully. Know how someone usually tells you to “take a deep breath” to calm down. That’s because it actually works. Stepping out of the freaking-out part of your mood gives you a different vantage point, one where you can see that thoughts are not facts. Thoughts are just things our brain jumps to, but you can chose how you react. You can chose to act on the thought, or just notice it and let it go.

    That is a very empowering thought: to know that you have thoughts but you are not those thoughts. As soon as you start noticing how you think about things and look at it from a different point, you gain a lot of insight into how you think, how you react, and what you can do to put yourself in good states of mind.

  2. aithriya 15 May 2009 at 12:59 pm #

    or just have your friends who frequent-fly bring you these “throw-up-bags” stuck in the pocket in front of their seat. that’s going to keep you car clean. sorry, as you can tell i am pretty bad in stress management.

  3. aithriya 15 May 2009 at 1:00 pm #

    oops, is it “bad at” or “bad in” sth. apparently, my english had been better at one point.

  4. lovemedeux 18 May 2009 at 10:47 pm #

    It’s probably “bad at”, but that’s besides the point.

    LOL I love that you’re like “Well, if you’re going to vomit, better to do it cleanly.”

    I do remember you getting very freaked out and emotional over the school stuff too, girl, I remember it like it was yesterday. 😦 But you survived with your dual degree, and I *HOPE*PRAY* that so will I.

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