We all made it through midterms, arguably one of the most stressful times of the year. Having two exams, your D2, a COS 126 assignment that just won't work, and a paper to write all in one week amid regular schoolwork can definitely feel overwhelming. Drowning in our own little struggles, though, we sometimes fail to remember that all the members of the Princeton community have their own stresses to deal with, academic or otherwise. This week, we interviewed members of the Princeton community to get some advice, put our own stresses into perspective, and learn more about the community around us.
Can you describe one of the most stressful situations you have found yourself in here?
Captain Kevin Creegan, Patrol Captain for the Princeton University Department of Public Safety: Probably around 2013, I found myself in a position where we were looking for an undergraduate student who was suicidal and had left campus. So, obviously, being extremely concerned for the person’s condition, through the investigation we were able to ultimately find the student. But it was pretty stressful. It took several hours, and we used some financial records to actually locate the student and had to get some local law enforcement agencies involved.
Anne Jarvis, University Librarian: Route 1! I moved from Cambridge, England, a year ago, so learning to drive on the right has been stressful enough, let alone navigating the traffic on Route 1. But, driving aside, one of the most stressful situations I’ve experienced since becoming University Librarian at Princeton is finding enough room in the day to engage with staff and colleagues. I believe in open communication and being available, and only wish there were more hours in the day.
Stanley Johnson, Food Service Worker: I don’t have any stressful moments over here. I really don’t.
Vicky Calle, Food Service Worker: It’s not much, but sometimes we have to rush with the time to make sure we have the job done.
How do you find you best deal with stress?
Creegan: Usually exercise, obviously not in the moment, but usually exercise is the way I like to release stress. Usually I like to walk or run here on campus.
Jarvis: Walking. I love to walk. It gives me headspace to allow thoughts to flow better and affords me focused time to process ideas and refresh myself. I am particularly grateful to be able to walk across campus and around Princeton. There are so many hidden spaces and inspirational vistas. And there’s something medicinal about getting out in fresh air and sunshine; it absolutely helps lower stress.
Johnson: (laughs) I really don’t have any. I don’t know!
Calle: Sometimes we will need to work extra hours, but not usually.
What do you usually enjoy doing in your free time?
Creegan: In my own free time, I try to detach from work altogether, and I like to spend a lot of quality time with my family, my wife — we’ve been married for 25 years — and three children.
Jarvis: Free time has been spent with my husband exploring and enjoying New Jersey and visiting New York and Philadelphia.
Johnson: I play tennis.
Calle: I’m busy most of the time, even at home on my days off I work and do the cleaning at home. I help my daughter with everything at home. Sometimes I enjoy going out somewhere with my friends or even my daughter.
Any advice for stressed students?
Creegan: I find Princeton University to have numerous services available for undergraduates they can reach out to to get advice or strategies to cope with the stress of their everyday academic life here at Princeton. But that’s basically it: to reach out to these resources on campus.
Jarvis: Yes, don’t forget to be kind to yourselves. It is so easy to continue pushing night and day. No matter how hard it is, you need to find ways to balance work or studying with rest and relaxation. And be present. While you’re rushing from class to activity to dining to studying, remember to see where you are: the beautiful buildings, the history, the world in which you are now a part.
Johnson: When someone gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Calle: I don’t know, but I always say to my daughter, I know it’s different with college and everything, but I always say that you got to keep up. Put everything and as much as you can into work and do what you want to do. My daughter, she’s good, she works hard, and now she got a promotion at work, and I feel proud because she wants to keep doing and doing more and more. I would say the same for you guys. Keep doing it because you can. So my advice to the students would be the same as I give my kids, to keep improving.
What is your favorite dessert?
Creegan: Mint chocolate chip ice-cream because it tastes really good!
Jarvis: Well, that’s tricky, because I’m not actually a dessert person. I’m more of a savory person. I rarely, if ever, choose a dessert when dining. I guess my favorite would be carrot cake, though not sure that is a dessert in the true sense of the word!
Calle: My favourite dessert is ice cream. Coffee with almonds is so delicious. That’s the one my daughter and I get at home all the time. I wish I knew how to make it, but I don’t. We go to the store and get it very often.