#VicSRCvoices: Taking the bus when the limo breaks down

Stress can test the best of relationships in the pressure cooker that we know as school. Demi Tangri examines how we manage stress by understanding and appreciating the friendships that sustain us - and drain us.

Stress

Exams, tests and SACs. The pressure really builds up.

Throughout the term, we’re all slowly cooking in this pressure cooker, when suddenly everything starts steaming and boiling and bursting with activity. Less time is happily whiled away frolicking with friends, more spent hunched over a textbook, frustratingly chewing the backs of pencils.

In this time, however, we not only learn many things academia, but also about the people we surround ourselves with. To quote Oprah Winfrey: “Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo. But what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”

Picture this - you’re having a bad day. Your Maths test didn’t go as well as you expected, and now you’re making your way to the Chemistry exam you’ve been dreading (you couldn’t study for it because you were doing maths the night before). Things really do start to look grim. Your heart is sinking, you’re losing faith in the education system, and...your phone buzzes. You’re not in the classroom just yet, so you quickly scan the screen. There are two messages. One is from your mum - “Good luck sweetie! You’ll be fine.”

You feel a pang of happiness, but you’re still all jitters. Palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are even starting to get a little heavy. The second text is from your best friend, who sat the test last period. “It’s just a test,” it reads, “and it’s not that bad, trust yourself!” This helps a little as well. You take a seat in the now hushed room, feeling as if a slight burden was taken off your shoulders. I mean, it’s not the end of the world.

This was a hypothetical scenario, but the aim was to accentuate just how much of an impact our friends and family have on us. They can either make, or break, our day. This all depends on the kind of friends we make, and the grounds on which we make them.

More particularly during exam period, both family and friends play separate yet important roles. Families, by doing little things like keeping the TV low so you don’t get disturbed, or asking your siblings to do the chores instead of you. Friends, by being there. We’re all in the same boat, so your friends know exactly what you’re going through (they’re probably going through the same things themselves!) In this case, that feeling of solidarity, the belief that someone has got your back, that if you’re having a bad day and need to vent, someone is there to listen, is something to be grateful for. It is also a good checkpoint to see who isn’t having a very positive affect on you, and perhaps should be kept at little distance. (Either way, this makes one solid reason as to why exam period is good for us.)

Without sounding like too much of a lecture, the ideal to stress here is that, the kind of people we associate with, we become. So being kind, being nice and being a good friend, is what it all comes down to. Our relationships and the way we treat other people, all trickle back to ourselves!  A smile across the corridor from a friend can turn an unpleasant day into a pleasant one. Even if they’re not really your friend - even if you just shared small talk at a party once. Similarly, an argument can turn a good day into…a less good day. We never truly appreciate how fortunate those of us are, who have friends who will listen to us without judging or being biased. Friendships are the family we choose for ourselves, so choose wisely, and make them worthwhile! 


#VicSRCvoices is a rolling series driven by the stories and experiences of student representatives. It’s about who we are; what we value; what drives us to act; and what fuels our passions to advocate for what we believe in.

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