Don’t forget to take a bite out of your holiday stress

By Annie Piekarczyk

It’s that time of the year again, folks. The holidays are here, or they’re at least just around the corner, if you couldn’t already tell by the festive decorations in just about every department store. But of course, we don’t have to just wait three more weeks before we’re home again and ready to celebrate yet another holiday – first, we have some business to take care of.

Many psychologists say that the holiday season is one of the most depressing times of the year. Now, throw in a few final exams and your empty wallet, and the stress alone will be enough to last you a lifetime. Or at least until next semester.

That’s right; the holidays aren’t the only thing that’s creeping up on us. Finals are approaching steadfast, and there’s no way to steer clear.

It’s inevitable: The holidays and our finals are coming, and they’re going to stick like a bad habit. For an entire week, our lives will be taken over by none other than those terrible, infamous final exams, not to mention holiday plans, parties, gift shopping and coupon-clipping for some of us. And by some of us, I mean me.

The next few weeks will effortlessly drain the life out of us and have us spending all of our hard-earned money on overpriced caffeinated drinks at Starbucks to wake us up in the morning and to keep us awake until late at night. Plain and simple: We’ll be up to our ears in stress.

It has been unavoidable until today. We had a few good months without thinking too much about finals and last week was by far one of the best weeks, as we finally had a chance to let sleep and hunger take over in the comfort of our own homes, away from campus anxiety that we all know too well.

And hopefully, you got that much-needed and deserved rest – I know I did – because today, we’re back, and it’s time to start cracking open our books and making those holiday plans and gift checklists.

But before all the holidays get to you, the presents get the best of your wallet and the exams crush you, just take a step back and remember something: Not only will it be over soon, but also there are bigger and more important things in life than getting straight A’s, buying (and/or getting) the most expensive presents and going to the best holiday parties. Like pie, for example.

I’m kidding.

Still though, while getting an A is pretty gratifying – I mean who doesn’t want to get an A – it is just that: an A. It’s a letter grade that means you know what you know really well. Good for you; that means a lot. I love A’s. But don’t completely forego sleeping, eating and having some fun in the next few weeks to get that A.

You should always strive to do better, to improve, but don’t overdo it. Let me tell you, nervous breakdowns aren’t so attractive and neither are those bags under your eyes that you get when you don’t sleep during the week. Take care of yourself. Just because Thanksgiving break is over, doesn’t mean you should go back to that horrible routine of not sleeping. Even if you do only care about going for the gold – and by going for the gold, I mean getting that ever-so-coveted A – then those few hours of sleep sure as heck won’t get you there.

Remember, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Don’t be Jack. Take a break from studying here and there and eat a good meal with some friends that you haven’t seen since you’ve buried yourself under those too-heavy textbooks. Dessert is a must.

It is the holiday season, after all, and we are college kids. Let’s live it up while we still can, and while we still have that amazing month-long winter break that we’re going to miss the second we graduate and get a real job.

Rather than stress about final exams and the holidays, think about what really matters – not just during the holidays, but always: family and friends.

And pie.

Annie is a freshman in broadcast journalism, and she can’t wait to see real snow for the first time in 10 years. She is so not in Kansas anymore.