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This item originally appeared in the Fall-2004 Bulldog Survival Guide issue of The Tech Talk.


Staff Writer

Summer is traditionally a time for relaxation, but for some it can also be a time of work and stress.

Some students choose to forgo typical summer activities to enroll in classes and work during the restful season.

Melissa Boje, a senior sociology major, is one such student.

Boje is employed at three locations in the Shreveport-Bossier area: Tango Transport in Shreveport, Eastwood Baptist Church in Haughton and Pizza Hut in Bossier City.

Boje is also employed at Tia Maria's in Ruston and the Bulldog Kennel.

On top of that, she has an internship at Chautauqua Center for Family Therapy.

"I work every day of the week at one job at least," Boje said. "And I sometimes work double shifts at Tia Maria's on the weekends."

As if that was not enough, Boje is also taking statistics during summer quarter.

One of Boje's reasons for working so much and attending classes over the summer is to graduate early.

"I've taken summer classes every summer since I graduated high school," Boje said.

She said she does not get to participate in some activities because of her strenuous schedule.

"I don't get a vacation," Boje said. "I miss going out with my friends and going to movies."

Boje also said she would like to do other things in her spare time if she could.

"I would like to take more sign language classes because that is something I truly enjoy," Boje said. "I would also like to get more sleep. I'm not sleep-deprived, but I could use a nap every now and then."

But she is not complaining.

"If I'm not doing something, I feel like I'm wasting time," Boje said. "I guess I'm not good at being idle."

Boje said working so much has allowed her to be financially self-reliant.

"I pay for everything except school," Boje said. "My working helps my parents because they don't have to pay for as much ... that's a big reason why I work as much as I do."

Boje is not alone when it comes to working and attending classes.

Adrianne Gillyard, a master's degree student in counseling, said she misses out on some activities because she manages classes and a full-time job at Cypress Spring Elementary in Ruston. She also volunteers with Ladies of Vision and Enlightenment.

"If we're in school I can't get my full-term break," Gillyard said. "I miss out on job fairs and things, but I have to do it to survive."

Gillyard said her time is limited, but she has learned to work it out.

"I don't have enough free time, but I make it happen," Gillyard said. "I like my job but I want to go to school and finish my degree."

Gillyard also said she has to keep herself on a schedule or else she will lost track of time and not get enough sleep.

Linda Griffin, director of counseling services, said many students put themselves through the rigors of working and balancing classes during the summer.

Griffin uses the analogy of a half-full glass of water. As more water is poured into the glass, the closer it becomes to overflowing until eventually it does overflow.

"If you're going to take a full load over the summer, you have to take something else out of your schedule or you will be like the glass of water," Griffin said.

Griffin said at least 50 percent of the people she sees are experiencing some type of stress.

Griffin said one of the things that makes stress such a problem is most people do not know stress is the root of their troubles.

"Often students don't realize what they're coping from is stress," Griffin said. "Stress can have any number of physical, emotional or psychological effects."

Griffin said some of the by-products of stress are sleep deprivation, eating problems (both overeating and under eating), lack of concentration and problems in relationships.

This summer, Kourtney Lee, a junior marketing major, balances working at the Methodist Children's Home every day with Management 310. He also worked in the dean's office in the College of Engineering and Science.

Lee said he turns to a couple of activities to escape the stresses and pressure of working and class.

"I just listen to rap music or, if I can, I go play basketball in the intramural center," Lee said. "I also have to remember that it has to be done, and I have no choice but to do it."

Griffin said counseling services helps students reflect on what is prompting stress and gives them applications to help relieve it such as deep-cbreathing techniques.

Griffin said the best way to deal with stress is to be physically active.

"I really recommend physical activity such as walking to class-in stead of driving, taking the stairs over the elevator, or working out in the intramural center or swimming laps in the pool," Griffin said.

Griffin said she meets with a great number of students to help them achieve a healthier lifestyle.

Griffin said, "We work with students to make a contract of things they can apply to their lives to reduce stress and meet again the following week to see how well they did."

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