By Stephanie Wicburg
As someone who has experienced instances of almost crippling anxiety in my life, I know that the avoidance of these issues in conversation is a fact. Stress and anxiety are just not things that society addresses. If someone wants to discuss them, it is often either with a professional, or not at all.
For me, the amount of preparation it takes to even do something as simple as making a phone call or socializing with people I don’t know is staggering. And yet, through my years, I have learned to cope with this part of my life. I have learned how to be able to function when I feel like I can’t breathe and how to push past it.
But imagine if I were put in a totally new environment. An environment in which I knew barely anyone. A place with a culture entirely different from my own, with a language that I do not natively speak. I have personally never been in this situation, but all the students I have worked with through ALI’s Conversation Groups are experiencing this as I type.
A new place can be incredibly hard to adjust to. I know that it took me several weeks to adjust to USC when I first moved here just last August, and during those weeks, there were several moments when my anxiety took over, and it felt like every little thing was just absolutely overwhelming. Fortunately, however, I had friends and family who I could talk to, as well as an incredibly supportive roommate, and all of the coping methods which I have developed through the years. These support systems are not something everyone has, however. Not everyone is taught or is able to figure out ways to help their anxiety, and so stressful situations, such as moving to an entirely new country, can just be beyond overwhelming.
Continue reading USC Resources for Stress and Anxiety
By Colette Au
As the first round of midterms reaches its peak, I find myself overwhelmed by my commitments. Again. It seems that every semester begins smoothly, but time management only helps so much to balance a life that, frankly, is overbooked. As I learned in my gender studies class, Americans have the longest work week in the world. We can boast of our high GDP and standards of living compared to many other nations, but economic benefits come with hidden costs. This workaholic culture trickles down, and is especially concentrated at a university like USC. People who triple major, invest thirty hours a week e-boarding for several clubs, rushing and pledging in the Greek system, or work a full-time job alongside a full course load are our role models — the hard working ideal. Squeezing maximum productivity out of every day is the norm. Is this mindset of high-intensity social, academic, involvement helpful, or even sustainable in the long-term? Perhaps a dominant narrative negatively portrays a stereotypical American characteristic, rewarding effort without achievement, but I think there is an equally strong narrative that seeks to disrupt this view that Americans are lazy and entitled.
As an American-born Chinese (ABC), I grew up with Asian immigrant parents. Like many of their “tiger” counterparts, they stressed academic accomplishment, but unlike the tiger parent stereotypes, they told me I should also remember to take breaks and relax sometimes. However, in college, there is no one to remind me to put down my macroeconomics lecture slides and simply BE. As soon as I stop working, the guilt sets in. I don’t want to be a lazy and entitled American, I think. So I work harder and I overcommit. And when my laptop’s hard drive fails and I succumb to a bad cold that takes me out of class for a week, my self worth disappears along with my rigid work schedule. Lying in bed with used tissues and a glass of hot tea, I realized how easily my world was reduced to my Google Calendar’s events and task list in the semester’s first four weeks. I had become my commitments. My long-distance relationship was suffering because I was in club meetings, attending lectures, or working for most of my days. This is not what I envisioned for myself, but slipping into the “work hard, play hard” culture that permeates this campus is extremely tempting.
Continue reading This Midterm Season, Don’t Forget to Take a Break!
By Rebecca Hu
With the continuation of winter weather (the ever so rare Los Angeles rain and cloudy skies), midterm season incoming, and the drastic changes occurring within our own government, some of us have been feeling a little bit down in the dumps. What was once meaningful activities seem to lose their meaning, the people around you grow distant, and sometimes your outlook on your day refuses to be optimistic. Whether it is because of the winter blues or midterm stress, here are my favorite resources that I use to help uplift my spirits.
One of the easiest go-to’s for me are the people around me. As those around us become busier, I often feel more distanced from our peers and it becomes more difficult to reach out to them. However, this is the first step. A little bit of this is accepting that it is okay to reach out for help, although I acknowledge how difficult this often can be. Another aspect is to know who to reach out to and that it is okay if some do not respond well, because there will always be someone willing to listen. Whether I call my best friend from home, my family, or even reach out to a fellow classmate, it is often nice just to be able to rant to someone and have someone just listen. I try to gauge either who will be patient and is available to listen to me or perhaps, who I know can relate to my problem and can provide me with advice. Even if it is about something as miniscule as the weather or a serious personal topic, I always feel better post this cathartic rant and reinforcing the feelings of community by reaching out to others.
Continue reading Gloom and Doom Hits Los Angeles: Resources to Help Uplift Your Spirits