Sweating the small stuff


Gwyneth Shoecraft

In the past week, you could not have turned on the news without being confronted by some frightening stuff.

First, there is the Ebola epidemic. The rise in the number of cases has caused panic to spread.
Then, an SDSU student was taken to the hospital and later died of meningococcal meningitis. Fears of the bacterial infection spreading around the university sparked serious concern.

Finally, the Great American Shakeout reminded us that a major earthquake is a real possibility.
Everywhere we turned there was the reminder that disaster is looming, and that we should be worried.
But despite this worry, I realize that the real troubles are usually the small ones that do not make headlines.

Those troubles are unanticipated, but frightening nonetheless. Like when I hit snooze one too many times last week and was late for an important meeting. Or when I read the wrong chapter for a class and had no idea what was going on. Though these things did not make the news, they did ruin my best laid plans for the week.

I don’t lay awake at night worrying about Ebola or meningitis; I lay awake fearing midterms.

This is not to say that these major problems could not affect me. Meningitis and big earthquakes have struck close to home. Ebola has affected U.S. citizens. But, in all likelihood, it won’t ever come into my life.

We should still be aware of the big things. We should have an emergency plan for earthquakes. We should know the signs of viruses, and head to the doctor when running a fever. Chances are it’s probably not meningitis, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

But once we’ve got those bases covered, we should let the worry go. We are far more likely to be affected by the small things.

I have learned that even when I try to avoid trouble, it comes. You will get a 2 a.m. phone call that rips your sense of normalcy to shreds. You will find yourself scared and alone, but so will everyone else. That’s life.

Someday I will wake up five minutes before my alarm, and check my syllabus before doing my homework. But until then, I will do the small things to prevent my own personal disasters. I’ll sweat the small stuff, like midterms, and stop worrying about the scares of an unhealthy world that will likely never make it past my doorstep.