Student Conversation about Stress Management
Student Dialog - Stress Issues
Sage: Hey Brian, what's up? How are your classes going?
Brian: They're not. No matter how much I try, I just can't seem to get anything done.
Sage: Sounds like you have some stuff happening. Do you have any idea what's up?
Brian: No. I'm just really confused about what I need to know for class and I can't seem to get going. I can't stay focused. I'm really tired and sometimes I even fall asleep in class.
Sage: Why don't you take a break now and I'll try to calm you down a little. I know some stress relief methods.
Brian: That sounds great, if you don't mind helping me out.
Sage: No problem. Let's start with a few questions. Do you think you get enough sleep at night?
Brian: Not really. I have to work and study, so I probably only get about four or five hours if I'm lucky.
Sage: What about exercise? You should try to exercise at least three days a week.
Brian: The only exercise I get is walking back and forth to class.
Sage: Hmmmm... I bet you're eating a lot of junk food, too, right?
Brian: Yeah, I am, but I don't have the time to sit down and eat regular food.
Sage: I know what you mean. I can't tell you how many times I've ordered pizza this month just because I didn't have the time to make myself a real meal. What about your friends? I know it helps me out a lot, when I'm feeling lousy, to talk to my friends. It really cheers me up.
Brian: Well, I used to talk to my friends all the time, but ever since I got into this slump I've sort of lost touch with them. Sometimes someone will call and see if I want to go out.
Sage: Well? Do you go?
Brian: Yeah, sometimes, but not as often as I used to.
Sage: Whoa! When I first met you, you used to party till, well, the cows came home.
Brian: Yeah, now I find myself hanging out in my room a lot just watching TV.
Sage: Is something worrying you? Something making it hard to concentrate?
Brian: I guess I'm worried about grades, work, and especially letting my parents down. The more I think about this stuff, the worse it gets and the less I get done.
Sage: It really sounds like a vicious cycle, and what we need to work on is breaking that cycle so you can start focusing on your work again.
Brian: That sounds great Sage, but how do I get started?
Sage: Actually, you've already started. You see, what you just did is called an awareness check. You found out that you're not getting enough sleep and your eating habits need to change. You need more exercise to stop your body from tiring out, and you need to keep in touch with your friends who support you and keep you in a positive frame of mind. You have something to work with there.
Brian: Wow, I didn't realize that all those things could be connected to how I feel.
Sage: So, how do you usually cope when you feel uptight and stressed out?
Brian: Well, in high school I used to run whenever I felt stressed, but now I think that I really like listening to music and zoning out.
Sage: How do you feel after you're done listening to music?
Brian: I feel a little more relaxed. Sometimes it puts me to sleep.
Sage: Maybe you should run AND listen to music!
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Image courtesy of Cartoon Network
A scene from Cartoon Network’s ‘Adventure Time.’
Walk into any college student’s dorm or apartment, and you’re guaranteed to see a few things: Ramen everywhere, unwashed dishes, and if anyone is home, cartoons on the television, PC or tablet.
There seems to be a growing number of adults watching shows aimed at a younger demographic. They aren’t watching because they have kids, they’re watching for, well … why the hell are they watching them?
For some students, it’s about stress relief and nostalgia. Though shows of the ’90s — a hallowed time full of some great creations— are long gone, sitting down after a long day of working or studying and laughing at a nonsensical cartoon is a lot healthier than drowning stress in the cheapest beer on tap at the local bar.
Jen Hesselbach, 19, graphic design junior at the University of New Haven in Connecticut, says of watching cartoons, “I like watching the old ’90s ones and stuff like that, mostly just for nostalgic purposes … other ones … I love just because I genuinely find them hilarious.”
While the majority of Cartoon Network’s key audience is still under 18, viewers age 18-to-44 make up a combined 34% — more than a third — of the channel’s total audience.
Though these cartoons target a younger audience, it isn’t hard to notice that writers and animators are pushing the limits on what they can get away with as far as “mature themes” go. Remember the episode of SpongeBob Squarepants in which they replace curse words with nautical-themed sound clips?
In 2006, the Parents Television Council (PTC) released a study that claimed there was apparently “more violence in children’s TV” than in adult programming. Then-president of the PTC, L. Brent Bozell said, “this disturbing trend signifies that parents can no longer be confident that their children will not have access to dark violence, sexual innuendo or offensive language on entertainment programming targeted toward children.”
When I was growing up, I never caught on to the mature jokes woven throughout the seemingly wholesome humor I watched in ’90s cartoons, but thanks to Netflix, I’ve been able to effectively relive my entire childhood.
I’ll be the first to admit some of the jokes that producers were able to slip into shows are way too mature for kids, but after re-watching them now, with two decades of life experience, I totally understand these jokes.
I get the innuendo.
In many ways, these cartoons were another form of the parental “I’ll tell you when you’re older” — but we got “I’ll tell you now, but you won’t understand until you’re older.”
Let’s examine a couple of the most popular cartoons on television right now.
We have Emmy-nominated Adventure Time, which finds the majority of its following in adults.
“It’s Candyland on the surface and dark underneath, and that’s why it’s compelling,” show creator Pendleton Ward toldThe Los Angeles Times. The show, whose complete second season will be released on DVD June 4, draws an average of 3.3 million viewers each week.
That Candyland exterior, however, is set in post-apocalyptic Earth. “The Land of Ooo is what Earth has become after The Great Mushroom War. Everything’s irradiated and mutated,” Ward says in an FAQ answer on his website.
There’s also Regular Show, another Cartoon Network favorite.
Melissa Camacho, associate professor in the Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts department at San Francisco State University says of the show in a review, “[S]ome of the fantasy violence and mildly crude humor aren’t appropriate for younger … but older viewers who are into creative animation will definitely appreciate the wit featured here.”
Even though these shows are aimed at children, they seem to follow the same path as those ’90s cartoons. It makes total sense as to why college students and adults would watch these shows — they aren’t “cartoons” to them, they’re simply comedy shows with the same potty humor as many “adult-oriented” animated shows.
Except this time around, instead of having to wait a decade or two to understand the humor, we get it from the get-go.
Dale Lavine is a Summer 2013 USA TODAY Collegiate Correspondent. Learn more about him here.
Adventure Time, Dale Lavine, life, San Francisco State University, VCU, VOICES FROM CAMPUS