Surfacing from Stress

Describe a circumstance, obstacle or conflict in your life and the skills and resources you used to resolve it. Did it change you? If so, how?

Diving in a pool is an experience like no other. It’s like immersing yourself in a world with no sound and no communication. Underwater you can do things that would be so much more difficult to do on land, for example: a backflip or a handstand. It’s a beautiful thing, but like most other beautiful things it has its downfalls, as well; it can be dangerous, and overwhelming. The water can swallow you up and the farther and farther you’re pushed down, the more pressure is put on you. You know that pressure that squeezes your nose and makes your head feel like it’s going to explode? That pressure continues the deeper in you get, until finally it is too much to handle.

This is how I felt my sophomore year of high school. I felt like I had plunged too far down into the immense pool of life, and I couldn’t find my way back up. The pressure, or stress, was boundless and never-ending. I had always been that girl who would take on too much at one time. For some reason, I always believed I would be able to get everything done. It got to the point where I would have to wake up at 5 o’clock in the morning just to finish my school work.

During my sophomore year, I didn’t understand that I needed to take some time to de-stress myself. I use to get colossal headaches every day and just ignore them. “All I have to do is get through today,” I used to remind myself. It took me until my junior year to take a step back and put everything into perspective, when I started volunteering in the Memorial Assistance Ministry English as a Second Language class.

The first day I came to help teach the class, the teacher was late. I was stuck in front of a group of middle-aged men and women who I had never met before, and of course being the awkward individual I am, I waited, silently, and hoped that the teacher would bust through the door at any moment, apologizing furiously for being late. But, not shockingly, no luck. So, I took the stack of papers that was handed to me upon my arrival and began to babble. “Ok, students does anyone know what the idiom ‘going out on a limb’ means?” I looked out at them. Silence. Then suddenly, seeming to understand my pain, the Peruvian lady Yolanda raised her hand and said, “Just start with your name”.

From then on, I loved teaching the classes. It was a great way for me to de-stress, because I was able to focus on other people’s problems as opposed to my own. That class taught me to not take the little things, such as language and communication, for granted. Rather than allow myself to feel bogged down by my commitments, I needed to relish them. However, I also needed to prioritize and concentrate on the ones I found rewarding. Coming to this realization has made me calmer and more focused; it has also redoubled my commitment to a career in the field of communications. I want to spend my lifetime in a collaborative work environment, building relationships with a team and guiding projects as a leader. That first ESL class was just my first dive in.

Leave a Comment