Brian's Ramblings

My thoughts in text, photo, and video form

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Self-Created Stress

Stress is an odd state of mind to comprehend. Stress is often caused by external factors, such as deadlines, responsibilities, and hectic schedules that we may carry. However, I will propose that there is a self-induced type of stress, one that our mind begins to create due to a myriad of reasons that may be true or not.

This past Saturday, the University's Mortar Board National Honor Society was in charge of helping at the Ft. Shafter Wheelchair Bowling League. I've talked about bowling in previous entries so I'll spare (no pun intended!) you the details of the league. I'm a student advisor for this club and as part of this, I've been the liaison between Mortar Board and the league; members would work with me in organizing their help for the month, as opposed to working with the people in charge of the league. I see the organizers on a weekly basis, so if there is any pertinent information to share (i.e. cancellations) I act as the messenger between the two sides. I'm proud to say that in the 4 or 5 years that Mortar Board has been involved with the league, they have never had to inform the league that they would not be able to help for their particular week. Have there been close calls? Certainly. Have there been extremely close calls? Yes!

Such an extremely close call occurred last week. I do think the current membership of Mortar Board is a great bunch of individuals as a whole. However, it appears that there might be a distinct difference in the level of interest and commitment that each member has; people are either very enthusiastic and willing to uphold the ideals of Mortar Board (Scholarship, Leadership, and Service), while others are there just there for the ride. I suppose this will be the case in ANY organized group, but for the most part in the past 4 or 5 years of my involvement with Mortar Board there haven't been many who were just along for the ride. As a student advisor, I feel that part of my responsibility is to get everyone to be enthusiastic about being a part of a club with a strong tradition rooted in hard work and going beyond what is required. I suppose in that regard, I am failing as a student advisor.

The recruitment for Saturday's volunteers did not begin until Tuesday. I'm not exactly sure why this was the case; I held the belief that a chair for the project, the person who would spearhead the efforts to have enough volunteers, had been established at the last monthly meeting that was in early October. We all have busy lives, demands of school and work....I respect that. However, if you commit to doing something, it's important that you keep to your word! I began recruiting volunteers from outside of the current membership from the week before, calling upon Mortar Board alumni to help out. Alumni members are wonderful people who probably lead even busier lives themselves! I also extended my recruitment of volunteers to my circle of friends.

Jumping ahead a couple days, I had a meeting for the Disability and Communication Access Board's (DCAB) Communication Access Committee on Thursday. I had to quickly recover from my long and exhausting Wednesday to have the energy to be at my best for this meeting. The meeting went well; I'm slowly becoming more comfortable as a board member. After the meeting, I went back to campus and put in my hours at Dr. Skouge's (Jim) office. Jim had proposed taking me along to a field trip with his class that evening, and I felt up to it. There were other activities going on that night, such as the 10th Anniversary celebration of the Stan Sheriff Center during the Wahine volleyball match. On Wednesday, one of my good friends called and asked me to come and eat at his restaurant where he's a General Manager. He had been asking me to stop by for a while now, and my schedule has been such that I simply haven't had time to fit in anything of this sort. So there were lots of possibilities for fun to be had on Thursday night. My parents were open to doing any or none of the above; they're quite flexible in this sense.

My tagging along to the field trip with Jim's class was semi-dependent on another friend of ours, Sterling. Jim came up with the idea that he would drive Sterling in his van, and then pick me up from campus and then we'd all head down to the field trip site. The field trip was to visit an assistive technology project that is headed by personnel from Stanford University (I believe); we met the people before, as they visited Jim's office this summer and they're superbly brilliant people. Long story short, I saw Sterling at the DCAB meeting, as he's also a board member and asked him if he was on for later that evening. He said, "sure!" but expressed some question about the logistics of it all, as he wouldn't be available until a later time than Jim needed to be at the site. So, up until the time of the trip, I wasn't sure if I was going or not. Ultimately, I did make it to the field trip, and I was happy I was able to go. It was nice seeing Jim's students again and it was a good opportunity to finally make it down to see the location of this assistive technology project. My parents remained in town, waiting for me; the plan was to swing by my friend's restaurant after the field trip and then head on home. Unfortunately, time had flown by and it was later than planned by the time I was ready to leave the project site.

As soon as I arrived at home, I checked my e-mail and found that we had only 2 volunteers lined up for Saturday! I immediately decide to take on a more proactive role in recruiting volunteers, so I began to call friends. I spent a good hour on the phone, leaving my dinner to be eaten after I had finished...this was a matter requiring immediate attention! After my hour on the phone, I secured ONE additional volunteer. I was disheartened, but yet excited that I was able to secure one more volunteer. One of my classmates was more than happy to come and help out on Saturday.

I called quite a number of people, and it's interesting how quickly you can lose touch with friends without realizing it! One of my friends, who I was lucky enough to meet during my year as an active Mortar Board member, had been almost impossible to reach by phone; but on this night I actually reached her! After exchanging pleasantries, she informs me that she had moved back to the Big Island of Hawaii. I was very surprised to learn of this, and don't really know all the details yet, but she assured me that she's doing well and would be visiting Oahu in December for the last football game of the year. I definitely look forward to visiting with her at that time!

So, here we were...Thursday night, 10pm, and we had 3 volunteers for Saturday. At the least, 6 bodies are needed in order to have the league run as smoothly as possible. I felt stressed to say the least, but tried to stay positive, telling myself, "there's one more day to find people!"

Friday rolls around and I received a voice message from the project chair, informing me that we now have 4 bodies from Mortar Board, thus raising the grand total to 5! Later in the afternoon, I was able to make contact with my co-worker from Jim's office, Steven, who was more than happy to help us out on Saturday.

So, in the end everything worked out just fine. The bowling league went off without a hitch. THIS would be an illustration of self-induced stress! I'm sure things would have worked out had I not scrambled for help on my end. But, I think it's better to over prepare than be caught coming up short.

I woke up Saturday morning with signs of a migraine. NOT fun at all. And I know full well that this was all related to the stress that I caused myself. But, I took some Advil and headed off to bowl. I had a less than stellar performance bowling-wise, but I think I was just relieved that we were bowling, PERIOD! My poor classmate arrived towards the end of the project, as she had a wild and crazy morning herself! She had a fender-bender, before dropping off her little brother at a birthday party. I found it amusing that during all of this, her brother's concern was "being late to the party!" Ah, the innocence of youth...such a great thing!

On Wednesday, I received my "quiz" back from my late class. I did decently, but I was less than pleased about how I was graded considering the feedback on the quiz itself, which was of a positive nature! I even stayed after class to ask the professor about my score, specifically asking how I could have done better, where I lost my points. "You did good!" was the gist of my professor's explanation, which didn't really sit well with me. I left class befuddled!

I'm still puzzled by the whole process, but such is life. Although we constantly strive to understand things in our lives, there are just some things that we must accept at face value. Asking "why and how?" won't make things better!

I'll end this entry so I can get it posted before Monday! I'll hopefully be able to add a "randomness of the week" entry tomorrow some time.

Don't forget to vote on or before November 2!!!!


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