December 19, 2008
Absorbing Student Stress
Today is the last day of exams for 1L's. I woke up this morning with a terrible headache, and an all-over illness feeling. These are the lingering effects of absorbing student stress. It's an occupational hazard with ASP. Especially virulent during exam time, when the school is filled with stress and anxiety, and the students who come to our offices are usually in some form of crisis. It's when our work is critical, but also the most draining.
One of the "cures" for the stress is to follow Amy's advice; take a few minutes to reflect on the things that worked this semester, and all the wonderful results from our hard work throughout the year. It's important personally and professionally to tally your triumphs. It feels discomforting to many of us to "toot our own horn", but if we don't, we go unthanked and unappreciated. These feelings leave us much more vulnerable to student stress.
Another way to beat student stress syndrome is to appreciate the beauty of the season. During fall exams, appreciate the beauty of winter, even if you aren't a fan of the cold. Snow is beautiful. If you are in a snow-less climate, appreciate the beauty of the holidays. Remember what is felt like to be a kid during the holiday season, the excitement and anticipation of gifts and family and days off from school. Try to recapture that joy.
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, student stress gets the best of us, and we feel it physically. It happens to the best of us--I am feeling it today. Understand that is is a natural reaction to what is all around us. It is also a sign that we have really empathized with our students, and listened with the compassion they deserve throughout the semester.
I am pretty sure the postings will be a little more sparse over the next week. I wish everyone a very merry holiday, and I can't wait to see everyone at AALS in San Diego.
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