Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stress Relief: An Addendum

We're on Day 2 of Finals Week here at Macalester. More and more the campus begins to resemble a scene from Zombieland as the stress virus spreads from student to student-- eyes drooped with exhaustion, mouths watering for Midnight Breakfast carnage, brains turned to mush by Accounting Equations, Organic Compounds, Moby Dick, and the question on everyone's mind: the legitimacy of Constructivism as an independent Political Relations theory. Luckily the virus is, for the most part, quarantined to a few "Red Zones" on campus, those being:

1) The Library where the undead can be found with glazed eyes glued to computer screens, fingers clacking mechanically on keyboard, or heads buried behind stacks of reference books such as: On Morality: A Guide to Nietzsche and Seneca Falls and the Origin of Women's Rights.

2) The 2nd Floor of the Campus Center is similarly infested with animated cadavers draped in the chairs over tables, noses pressed against notebook pages. Occasionally you may find one with its head tilted to the side, eyes staring vacuously ahead, mouth yawning open.

Fortunately there is an antidote. There are, in fact, several.

Mr. Calvert, clearly an expert on Zombie-Season-Survival, has already provided you with some in his previous post. Allow me to elaborate on these.

Combatting Zombie Syndrome 101:

1) Exercise

Make time to take your aggression out on the treadmill at the Leonard Center. If you go at around 4:30-5:30 you can watch Cash Cab while you jog and calculate what economists call the "opportunity cost" of being on the treadmill rather than in the Cash Cab answering simple trivia questions for 50-100 bucks a pop. Such questions might include: "From the Greek, fear of aliens, this condition describes a person who does not like foreigners." (And no, the answer is not Mars-Phobia as some very misguided New Yorkers seemed to believe).

2) Play in the snow!

That's what it's there for after all. If you can withstand the subarctic temperatures, building a snowman or shoving a fistful of freezing wet white snowflakes down a cherished friend's jacket can be a real stress reliever. (Sorry Micah, but all is fair in love and snowball fights).

3) Watch a movie

It's cozy weather to cuddle up with friends and watch a movie. Recent film viewings in Bigs 370 have included The Life Aquaitc, Coraline, When Harry Met Sally and Wall-E. Don't have time for a full-length feature film? That's fine-- that's what youtube's for! Collin mentioned the Daily Piper features in his post. My personal favorite has to be cats playing patty cake:

4) Read a book for leisure

Preferably something with a bit of snark, something light that doesn't make you think too hard. Might I recommend A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers (aka A.H.W.O.S.G.) or (to be thematically relevant) try Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

5) Treat yourself

You've earned it! Go out to dinner with your friends one night, eat non-Cafe Mac trough fare, get out of the campus bubble and feel like a real, live, honest-to-(insert your choice of deity or non-deity here) person! Italian Pie Shoppe has some pretty good deep dish options, I've heard that the Pad Thai place is delectable and there's nothing, absolutely nothing, that a Shish burger can't cure.

6) Suppress the stress with Yuletide Cheer!

Yes, you have two exams on the same day and three 10-page papers due Thursday and don't forget about the oral exam in Portuguese that you haven't prepared for yet, but let's not lose sight of what's really important here: it's almost Christmas! And Christmas = presents + food and presents + food = happiness. So decorate your room accordingly and throw a Christmas party. Remember. Christmas lights are a college kid's best friend, and you can never have too many friends.

Bigs 370 Panorama View of the Christmas Spirit

7) Take a class with Marlon James

That way, while everyone else is stressing over their last class because they have a presentation, a final project or an exam, you'll be enjoying a well-stocked pizza party catered by Pizza Luce while watching a questionable zombie movie that inspires the theme of your next blog post. There's nothing quite like gratuitous gore and bad dialogue to take the edge off.

Ah, yes my friends, that brings us to the reprise. As it turns out you don't need baseball bats, military-grade rifles, or chainsaws to combat the scourge of Finals Week. Take the pacifist route-- we're all about promoting peaceful relations here on the liberal Mac campus anyway. Follow this easy guide and you'll find yourself slowly coming back to life.