There’s More Than One Way to Steady

By Paula Dallacqua, Staff Writer 

Charlotte Steele flashes one of her custom-­ ary smiles. Photo by Paula Dallacqua

Charlotte Steele ’14 believes taking a bath has a “superhuman power to cause you to relax”. Her absolute go-to anti-stress mechanism, however, is grocery shopping. Even if she doesn’t buy anything, simply walking up and down the aisles is enough to restore her characteristic positive energy—although she always tries to buy at least one or two things.

A Human Development and Social Relations major, Charlotte is a member of Student Commission, the sustainability intern for Creative Dining, an Index contributor, Amelia Katanski’s assistant for the first-year seminar, “Cultivating Community”, and a brand-new member of the Queen Bees Frisbee team.

Currently, Charlotte feels that she has just enough on her plate and has successfully eluded the common K sentiment of needing to do more more more.

She says, “When I do things I really care about, it becomes enough…it’s stuff when my alarm goes off where I want to jump out of bed.”

She believes if she does the things she cares about, it is easier to figure out when her workload is not enough or too much.

Being involved while maintaining a balanced schedule was something that took time for Charlotte to learn, however. She said that she always had trouble doing homework because it was difficult to focus, but, “As a senior, I know how to be a student.”

Although she used to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work, she now realizes that “it’s about how you do the work and what you get out of it.” A reading that might have taken her two hours a couple of years ago now takes thirty minutes because she knows how to efficiently read while properly preparing for class discussion.

Charlotte does not think the amount of stress at K is necessary a bad thing, believing that overall kids are happy and fulfilled. She explains, “Stress is almost like flossing your teeth—it’s painful, but it feels good.”

Although the stress can be beneficial, Charlotte still urges to “do your own thing—it could be zero things, one thing, ten things…don’t do things people ask you to do because you feel like you should. Find your way and don’t be afraid even if it’s different.”

She sums it up as, “You, do you.”

And if you’re ever feeling down and can’t seem to remember Charlotte’s words of wisdom, listen to her favorite song, “The Sound of Sunshine” by Michael Franti & Spearhead—it’s sure to make any day seem a little bit less gray.

This is a preview of the Index’s Sixth Week Issue covering stress at Kalamazoo College.