The Hamster Wheel of Stress

Photo Courtesy: Doenertier82 at the German language Wikipedia

Also Published on The Branding Iron Online

Have you ever watched a hamster running on a wheel? No? You should, because then when you are stressed and your list just keeps growing and you are continuously running trying to somehow get it all done, you will have a good idea of what you look like.

The last week I have been madly typing the analysis, discussion, and conclusion sections of my master’s thesis in order to submit it to my thesis chair by Wednesday the 20th at 5 pm. I’ll be the first one to admit, I’ve been cranky, scatterbrained, a candy whore, and an overall mess during the process. In short, I feel what I’m sure a hamster on one of those god-awful wheels feel like.

I contemplated saying, “screw it” and running to a country where my student loan holders couldn’t extradite me. What stopped me you ask? Well, my check engine light has been on in my car since September so I wasn’t sure I would make it to the airport but that’s another rant. Anyway, I’ll get back to my hamster wheel and subsequent behaviors. I ate more food in the last week than I did in the previous two weeks combined. I also didn’t work out at all (I usually workout five to seven times a week) and somehow lost weight. How is this possible? The hamster wheel of stress is what I blame with wholehearted fervor, and likely inappropriate language.

Despite my complete and utter slump to eating horrible food (I’ve been on a health kick), not working out (I’ve been on a get in shape kick), and total uptight nervousness (that’s not totally out of the ordinary) I got my rough draft submitted to my thesis chair by the deadline. And guess what? My hamster wheel didn’t stop. Instead the damn thing just renamed itself and kept on going. Now, instead of running around with a “get my thesis rough draft done” thought bubble looming grotesquely over my head, there’s a gargantuan thought bubble reading something to the effect of “apply for jobs, worry about the comments my thesis rough draft will have on it when I get it back, and do all the stuff I’ve ignored the last two weeks.”

If I ever see someone put a hamster on a wheel again I might commit murder and save the poor little animal from the trauma I feel he is experiencing. For those of you who aren’t on your own hamster wheel of stress right now, I hate you a little bit, envy you a lot, and don’t want you to tell me about it. For those who are in the same boat, or at least a similar one as me, take a deep breath, don’t murder anyone in a stress induced rage, and keep telling yourself that summer will be here soon. Oh, and don’t forget, you’re paying for this experience.

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