Sweaty palms, shortness of breath andshaking hands. Every student experiencesstress and anxiety at some point, and eachperson deals with it in a different way.
But when stress overload caused MariaPascucci to run out of the room and havea panic attack during the last final exam ofher college career, she could no longer ignore the price she was paying for perfection. She had reached her breaking point.
After graduating Summa Cum Laude (Latin for highest honors)with degrees in both history and English, and with a minor in writingand a concentration in women’s studies, Pascucci had lost her original passion for writing and didn’t pick up a penor a book for nearly a year. When she begansearching for a job, she quickly discovered that employers were not all that impressed with the Latin notation scribbled on her diploma. In her eyes, this was yet another blow to her already shaken confidence as she faced the growing sense of “not good enough.”
“Perfectionism sort of became my identity.It was how I defined myself and how Imeasured my own self-worth,” said Pascucci,admitting that this mindset undoubtedlycontributed to the stress that caused her tobuckle under the pressure.
Eight years after her traumatic breakdown,Pascucci has used her experiences tobecome a successful author, speaker and theCollege Student’s Stress-Less Life Coach.
She looks back on those years of pursuingperfection at the risk of her health, confidence and personal well-being with determination and intention; to help stressed-out students avoid that breaking point and find that their own self-worth is more than a GPA or graduation honor. Her own story is an inspiration to many and proof that even the most straight-laced students can take a tumble. …continued below
Founder and president of Campus Calm,an award-winning online community aimedat advising students, parents and educatorson the dangers of stress and anxiety, Pascucci provides personal stories coupled with online podcasts, newsletters and magazines to help the stressaholics of today.Pascucci has even started an online program for students called Campus Calm University, where students can get monthly downloadable audio MP3 coaching classes to allow them todevelop healthy, self-loving mindsets thathelp them be happy and successful.
Classes cover everything from nutrition, college and career planning and timemanagement, to taking charge of mentalhealth, myths about school stress, entrepreneurship secrets and financial planning.
Students enrolled in the program also receive bonuses, including the Study of You, an MP3 coaching class that helps students pin down the job or career that is most natural and satisfying, a tutorialon college planning, an e-book on timemanagement and much more. Completion ofthe programs earns students a certificate inthe International Campus Calm U life skillstraining program.
Pascucci’s book, “Campus Calm University:The College Student’s 10-Step Blueprintto Stop Stressing and Create a Happy,Purposeful Life,” is another tool availableto students who struggle with the stress andtension that accompany school pressures. It is available for purchase on herWeb site, www.campuscalm.com or at otherlocations, including Barnes &Noble, Amazon.com and Target.
The book won a gold medal in 2009 from Independent Publisher Book Awards.
“I wrote the book I knew I needed,” Pascuccisaid in reference to the years she struggledwith stress overload.
“If I needed it in college and didn’t have it, I created it.”
While Pascucci’s entire career is focused onproviding assistance and advice to struggling students, there are three key points she encourages all students to remember.
“Say to yourself, I am more than the measureof my GPA,” said Pascucci, arguing that the number itself cannot measure self-worth.
Pascucci also believes there is enoughsuccess in this world for students and theirfriends, and students are doing themselvesa great disservice by being so competitiverather than forming allies and making realconnections.
Finally, Pascucci said, “If you want tobe healthy, understand that the most healthymindset you can have is to love yourself.Self-love is your greatest ticket to success.”
Pascucci’s personal and professional biographies are available at her Web site, along with contact information and details about what Campus Calm is all about.
“The most important thing is to remaintrue to who you are,” said Pascucci. “Theysay write what you know, and that is so true.Find what you’re passionate about and beproud.”