Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Midterms? No worries

Maria Uminski/Collegian

Midterms have a way of putting students in a stressed out, worried state of mind.  Across campus, hordes of students showcasing distressed faces make for a sad sight.

“I have so much work to do. How am I going to pass this test? When am I going to have time to do any of this?” People can feel the tension exuding out their skulls as they walk by.

I have always struggled when relating to test anxiety. I don’t worry too much about exams, which often puts me in a socially awkward situation when dealing with others’ fears. I have managed to pick up some common remarks from watching other’s interactions to mask the fact that I am often dumbfounded by this seemingly debilitating fear. In fact, the only thing I really worry about when it comes to academics is that I’m not worrying enough compared to the people around me.

My high school psychology teacher told us that in order to be happy, we must put things in perspective. This is easier said than done — if everyone could follow her advice, we’d all be happy all the time. However, people should spend less time dwelling on their stress because worrying doesn’t actually get anyone anywhere. The solution to these worries is not to go out and tuck them away in a box to be avoided. Being proactive with your worries helps, but this can also be dangerous. One may begin to think that they can only be productive as a result of stress.

This leads me to a discussion on the value of perspective. In today’s society, I believe that perspective is an extremely underestimated idea. We are concerned with productivity and efficiency, and God knows that we aren’t patient. In a world filled with technology that can tell us where to go, what to do and how to act, there is an element of personal thought and control that is lost somewhere in the mess of iPhones and Kindles.

Although this technology helps us remain stable and organized, shouldn’t someone realize that there is more to life than the apps?

Sometimes, when I am walking through campus, I take some time to stop and look around. I often wonder how many people are doing the same or conversely, I wonder how many aren’t taking full advantage of their senses. How many people don’t see something beautiful just because they are buried in technology or stress and don’t know it’s there?

I’m not talking about the kind of beautiful they use in movies such as a pretty sunset or starlit night. The most beautiful things aren’t so obvious.

Out of my dorm room window, I can see a few buildings, a parking lot and various students walking around. But if I stop and look for a little longer, I can also see distant lights in far-away windows, letting me know that I’m not the only one awake at this absurd hour. I can see the towers, and while they are seldom quiet and peaceful up close, from this distance they take on a stable calmness. They are concrete beauties.

It is hard to worry about midterms once we are able to see beyond the endless facts and to-do lists. I have done poorly on exams, and one thing I have learned is that my life will continue to be what I make of it despite these small setbacks.

People must accept the fact that there is only so much around us that are in our control. So I will study and work hard, but most importantly, I will trust my instincts. And there’s no app for that.

Katie McKenna is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected].


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