What does stressed spell backwards?

Stressed spelled backwards spells desserts, and we usually think of them as equally bad for you. However, new research may indicate otherwise. An article in the The New York Times Magazine examined recent research on stress, and found that if students framed it in a positive way, it may actually benefit their performance:

"Before taking a practice test, the students read a short note explaining that the study’s purpose was to examine the effects of stress on cognition. Half of the students, however, were also given a statement declaring that recent research suggests 'people who feel anxious during a test might actually do better.' Therefore, if the students felt anxious during the practice test, it said, 'you shouldn’t feel concerned. . . simply remind yourself that your arousal could be helping you do well.' Just reading this statement significantly improved students’ performance. They scored 50 points higher in the quantitative section (out of a possible 800) than the control group on the practice test."

Jeremy Jamieson, assistant professor of social psychology at the University of Rochester, would like to see stress re-defined: “When people say, ‘I’m stressed out,’ it means, ‘I’m not doing well.’ It doesn’t mean, ‘I’m excited — I have increased oxygenated blood going to my brain. ” For juniors studying to take their SAT and ACT, this could be revolutionary, though it doesn't replace the value gained by planning ahead and studying.



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You Are What You Tweet

Have you googled yourself lately?

If you are gearing up to begin your college application process, you definitely want to read Danny Westneat’s article in the Seattle Times. In this article, he discusses how he discovered an inspiring story of a student with a rough start in life, who defied all odds and made it to college, but that his perspective changed when he discovered the student's Twitter feed.

Without getting into the content of his posts, the point is clear. It’s normal for high school students to share their world with their friends, but with today’s internet culture, the consequences of those discussions and the photographical evidence that may be associated with them, are obviously much more far reaching and long term.

Westneat quotes a Harvard interviewer during a debate on the website Quora, who offers some guidance in this area: “Does a Facebook profile or a website prejudice me before I meet a candidate? Yes. Absolutely. If you care about your college career, one of the best things you can do is Google yourself, then pull anything off you wouldn't voluntarily show your parents' friends." Unfortunately, it can be what is not included in your college application that leaves the biggest impression.