By Paula Dallacqua, Staff Writer
Audra Hudson ’16 shows up about a half hour early for our interview, charmingly apologetic for her timeliness, and armed with The New York Times. With some time to kill, she excuses herself to grab a drink from the Book Club Café.
With her level of campus involvement, Hudson is a familiar face to many at Kalamazoo College, so it’s not surprising that she strikes up conversation with a couple of people while she waits for her order. In addition to being a Resident Assistant in Severn, Hudson is a student chaplain, a staff writer for Naked Music Magazine, and a member of K-Crew. She is also involved in the young adult’s group at the First United Methodist Church in Kalamazoo.
She returns to the table with what looks like a cup of whipped cream and laughs as she explains that it was a recommended enhancement to her espresso. She immediately agrees to take a silly picture with her “hearty dollop of whipped cream”.
As a first-year student, Hudson had decided to take it easy on the activities. She says, “I shied away in being involved in too many things my first year. In my spring quarter, I decided I wanted to be more involved in the fall.”
Yet, during her first year, she felt that even if she was doing well in school, it didn’t matter because she was not involved in the community. Hudson believes, “You tend to do better in your school work when you’re more involved in your community.”
Overloading, however, is something Hudson has to be careful about, especially since she admits to being someone who tends to take on more than she should. She recognizes her stopping point when she starts to “feel lesser to other people” or when she’s “willing to be walked all over.”
Hudson agrees that the overall culture of busyness is ubiquitous at K, and “it’s hard to avoid any conversation that doesn’t gravitate toward stress.”
One way she recommends handling stress is to enjoy even the things you don’t like very much. She also encourages finding friends: “It’s easier to feel stressed when you’re struggling through something by yourself. It’s nice to be able to come into class and wave to someone you know.”
Venturing off-campus is another outlet for stress. Hudson particularly enjoys going to The Union and listening to their jazz collective over a cup of coffee. She explains that Naked Music Magazine is encouraging people to go off-campus and use the music scene as a chance to explore the culture of Kalamazoo.
Lastly, she suggests, “Stay involved in the current events and news outside of K.” It mitigates stress to be concerned with something outside of campus, and “things that are bigger than yourself make you think how this test tomorrow isn’t going to be the end of the world.”
Nonetheless, she smiles as she concedes, “I mean, I’m sitting here with espresso for a reason.” Staying balanced may not always be easy, but at least the whipped cream is always in ready supply.
Look for more ways to handle stress in next week’s issue focused on balancing life on-campus.