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Lamontagne: Hello, goodbye

Stress Less
By Gabrielle Lamontagne

Rejection really stinks, whether it’s that cute guy a few doors down or your dream job. It can also be a foremost cause of stress, especially in college students who have job interviews, graduate school applications, internships and developing love-lives to worry about.

I don’t have to tell you about the stress caused by working up the courage to talk to or ask out a current crush or how overpowering it can be. As it is, most of the musicians and filmmakers of the world have that topic covered. That doesn’t mean they always have good ideas about how to overcome that stress. Blackmail, à la “You Can’t Buy Me Love” (the 1980s movie starring Patrick Dempsey), is a good example of a bad way to handle that stress. Trust me, it will never end well — and in a lot of cases it’s illegal.

Here are some good ideas:

– Listen to music that pumps you up and gives you that courage.

– Start just by saying a simple “hello.” From there it will seem easier each time to say a little bit more to that special someone, which could lead to full-on conversations.

– Find out (through friends, Facebook, etc) if you have any interests in common. Sharing a passion or hobby can be a great conversation starter – and it can give you a great first date idea that you’ll both love! However, don’t pretend to like something just because your crush does. For one, that’s a form of lying – never a good way to start a relationship of any kind. Second, it can completely change the way someone sees you. Per Amanda Jones of “Some Kind of Wonderful” (another 1980s movie), it feels better to be alone for the right reasons than be with someone for the wrong ones.

Job interviews are extremely stressful, too. Walking into an employer’s office, I’m shaking just as much as when I get on stage in front of a huge audience – and even at a high school level that’s pretty scary. The best way to reduce stress for this kind of event is usually to come prepared. Usually that means dress up a little bit, know what questions you have for the employer, and bring a copy of your resume, even if you submitted it during the application process. If you want to prepare some things to say about yourself on notecards to bring with you, that’s not usually necessary, but definitely a helpful strategy.

I suggest sticking to information concerning profession and work experience; maybe include an anecdote that describes why you chose your career path. Other than that, listening to psyche-up or calming music just before the interview can help in this situation too. Remind yourself that you’re a competent young individual and you are worth this company’s time. Applying for graduate school I image you’d face the same amount of fear, worry, and stress as you did when waiting for college acceptance letters 3-4 years ago. Probably the same methods you used back then would work here too. In case you didn’t, or forgot them, some ideas include:

– Set a time of day to check your email/mail/phone messages for acceptance mail. Stick to that time. That way you can set it aside in your mind and compartmentalize that nervousness a little bit.

– Talk about it with your friends and family. If people know you’re anxious about it, they’ll be supportive and help you get through your nerve-wracking wait. They can’t be there for you if you don’t tell them about it, though.

– Stay busy. Go out with friends at night, go to free skate, don’t eat alone, and focus on classes and work. By concentrating on current tasks, you’ll distract yourself from the impending acceptation or rejection of graduate school.

As always, remember that it’s not as bad as it seems. Take a break, take deep breaths, and “don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” Even Babe Ruth knows you can do this.

Gabrielle Lamontagne is a sophomore double-majoring in French and business administration. She is currently studying abroad in Dijon, France.

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