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In which Sabrina ( fills in for Hank to talk about stress, joy, and being a university student.

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Good morning, John.

You may have noticed, but I am not particularly Hank shaped.

Hi, I’m Sabrina. I just started university, so, as you may have guessed, I am falling apart. My love of naps and my hatred of myself has made it so that the only thing that keeps me warm at night is the dumpster fire that is my life, because as it turns out,
it's really hard being a human being.

Everybody is stressed out by different things, depending on their work, their relationships, their age. I mean, babies are just out here trying not to throw up on everything, and I—also that, too.

As a university student, I’ve got midterms, presentations, essays, readings, and “suggested problems,” but we both know what they mean by “suggested.”

All right, I’m not saying that you gots to do this, I am merely suggesting that you do questions one to forty-four or else bad things might happen.

That’s a weird accent.
And I won’t lie to you, I would probably be crying myself to sleep. If I was getting some sleep. But are you ready for the big plot twist revelation? I am the happiest I have ever been in my entire life.

I know it seems a bit paradoxical, but before you call Stockholm syndrome, consider the possibility that we build this false dichotomy around stress and happiness. That happiness exists if and only if there is no stress. But I would argue that for most of my life, the biggest hindrance to my happiness was a lack of stress.

Good stress, not social anxiety or a crippling fear of failure, no. I am talking about the stress that comes along with doing something that you love so desperately that it fills up every hour of your day, and sometimes even more. It’s like when you only have fifteen minutes, but the TV show you’re trying to watch is
thirty minutes long—it shouldn’t be possible, but you always find a way.

Now, I didn’t have that sort of stress growing up because I could afford to be so lazy. Privilege! But because of that, I never worked very hard. I could never experience the fulfillment of pushing yourself to your limit, of success after spending so long at chipping away at a challenge.

Granted, that challenge might be a course where everything is just ¿Que? And the midterm is tomorrow, but let me put it this way: I remember sitting in my first ever math lecture, taking my first step towards a math major, and realizing I don’t know how to do math. I have made a horrible miscalculation, probably because I don’t know how to do math.

And that realization should have destroyed me. My entire life plan is probably gonna fail, just like me in math class. But instead of collapsing into this little stress singularity, I remember smiling. Maybe it was just a coping mechanism, but I like to think that it’s because I am so enamored with knowing that there is so much more to know.

And now here I am, arguably too aware that I know nothing, but for the first time in my life, I feel like I am working towards something. The factors that are stressing me out, the readings and the writings, they’re the same factors that build the framework for my happiness. I can’t spend all of time feeling nostalgic for hypothetical futures when I have a paper due at 11:59 on a reading that I’m not even sure that I read because I read at least 200 pages this week, and my eyes can only do this so much before I accidentally hypnotize myself.
And when I do have free time, I spend what I have left... napping. But what I have left after that, I spend truly appreciating my life, my friends, and my family. What I’m trying to say is that I am the most stressed out I have ever been but the happiest I could ever hope, and it is so good to know that those things are not mutually exclusive.
And John, I’ll see you on Tuesday.