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Monday November 27, 2000

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Finals are unhealthy

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By Shaun Clayton

Arizona Daily Wildcat

So, here it is - the final stretch, the last two and a half weeks of school. This means that students the campus over will be working and studying furiously, hopped up on a combination of NoDoz, Jolt cola, cappucino, crack cocaine and what-have-you to stay awake and energized to survive the dreaded finals.

Why bother?

If everything in your body tells you that you should lay down, watch TV for two to 15 hours and eat an unhealthy amount of snack foods, you really should. To thine own self be true, so the saying goes.

Of course, some will say that their true self is an overachiever - a diligent and hard worker who will do whatever it takes to achieve success. Those people, to be blunt, are outright liars. And not only do they lie to others, but they have lied to themselves for so long they truly believe it.

Human nature dictates that people are like water - they will follow the path of least resistance. When faced with work over sloth, work may win at first, but sloth will gradually take over. For some of the real "go-getters" this may take a few decades, but sloth will eventually catch up to them with a vengeance. On a long enough time line, everyone's work ethic drops to zero.

This results in a condition called "burn out." However, it should be more appropriately be called "giving in." When overachievers invariably "give in," they will become the most underachieving, slacking, lazy and most contented people in the world. At least, of course, until they start lying to themselves that such inactivity is a horrible thing and kick their own asses.

So the cycle begins again - work to the breaking point, give in, work to the breaking point, give in. Of course, some take it to such an extreme that they work past the breaking point and then die, usually slumped over a desk from a heart attack. There is a lesson to learned here, and that lesson is to follow the middle of the road through life.

Do not work to death, but also, do not work too little. Put off things to the last moment. Carefully calculate how many assignments can be missed without failing the class. Actually get out and, heaven forbid, enjoy life.

Further, examine what exactly a diploma is. It is a piece of paper. A nice piece of paper, for sure, but it is still a piece of paper that says "other people feel very strongly that this person knows what they are doing in a certain area of knowledge." Sure, some people need that reassurance that people know what they are doing, but for others, they are already self-assured - confident in the knowledge of themselves, that they know what they are doing, they will prevail, and they aren't going to stress out over it.

So, forget the finals, and aim for that healthy 2.5 grade-point average, and relax - it's only human.