Release Your Stress and Baile a Despacito

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Most students hate exams. I have yet to meet a student who would say, “I can’t wait to take my biology test.” You have to search hard for moments of tranquility. Everyone I know feels the same exact way except for the rare lucky few who either handle this level of pressure well or just do not care enough about the outcome to get into panic mode like us mere mortals.

If anyone would want to describe hell, they would describe college finals week.

I would never wish this torturous experience on anyone. Around these tough times, I tend to pull all-nighters thinking it would help me understand what I had failed to understand during the semester.

At those points, my imagination runs wild. I think of any magical way I could suddenly understand what I didn’t know, from wishing I could read minds to wishing I could mind swap with the smartest person in the room or my professor. If only wishes could come true.

On the Friday before finals week, exhaustion took over me. My good friend Olivia decided she wanted to go and spend some time outside on her hammock and wanted me to go with her for a change of scenery. I went with her because I had never studied outside and thought I would give it a shot.

We walked to the back side of one of the dorms and found a nice grassy pathway in between an array of trees. I breathed in the dewy scent of fresh grass that gave me a break from my usual study spots. I helped Olivia set up her hammock between two trees and she gave me a blanket to lay on the grass. I reluctantly pulled out my text books and dove into my studies.

After 30 minutes of talking to myself about how annoying insects were, glaring at the spot where a bird had pooped on my backpack and attempting to study, I closed my book and let out a frustrated scream. I looked over to where Olivia lay in her hammock and walked over to her, ready to start a rant about the unwanted heat that physics brought to my life. Instead of being a good friend, she ignored me and watched Bob’s Burgers on her laptop instead.

I glared at her and she didn’t even bother to look apologetic. I was working so hard to concentrate and force feed myself knowledge while she had fun watching Netflix. She did not feel sorry for me and she couldn’t feel my pain. I have never wanted to flip a hammock over so bad in my life.

“I am a part-time student with only one exam to take next week,” she said with a light shrug. I couldn’t say anything smart, so I went back to lay on the blanket. I closed my eyes and got ready to pray when I heard my favorite song.

“Despacito” by Luis Fonsi, definitely one of the greatest songs to come out in my generation and the best song of the year 2017, started to play. Olivia and I listened to this song over and over and every time it came on, we sang as best as we could, and I danced as stupidly as possible.

Hearing this tune at this moment of stress felt like a light finally flashing at the end of a tunnel. As soon as I heard the unique tune at the start of the song, I sat up quickly. I wanted to jam out in the middle of this woodsy area where other students were likely to pass by. I honestly couldn’t care less.

As the rhythm of the song flowed, I felt myself dropping the weight of my physics textbook and dancing along to the beat of the song. I imagined myself as one of the dancers in the music video who could move their bodies in artistic ways, stretching their arms and legs and moving it in a manner that only a professional dancer would be able to. They had grins on their faces instead of the harsh glare of concentration in trying to figure out how to dance. I imagined myself dancing with the ease with which their flexible bodies could move.

Through the entirety of the song I felt stress free and happy. I realized in that moment that life does not only offer hardship or stressful situations. For three minutes and fifty-one seconds, I escaped the haze of finals week and danced my worries away. When the song ended, I flopped back on the blanket breathing heavily while Olivia let out her unique, high pitched, dark laughter. It echoed through the trees and tinkled at my ear drums as background noise,

College gives me long, stressful and sleepless night, but it does not feel as awful as finals week. Just taking a little bit of time to do some spontaneous dancing gives a calming therapeutic feeling that I could never get from physics. The beat of Hispanic music feels like soft drums knocking on my bones and begging me to flow with the beat, becoming a type of melodic therapy for me. I hate exams, but I know if I can just relax and dance, I’ll make it through them just fine.

Ayotoluwafunmi, also known as Ayo, is a junior at the University of Iowa. She is studying Journalism and earning a certificate in Entrepreneurship. She is one day looking forward to starting her own company where her degree and certificate can be put to good use.

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