Incidental Amusements

As college students at Geneseo, we often have a lot on our plates that tear us in all different directions. When you add the end-of-semester workload, however, the stress levels go from about a three to an eight in a matter of days, depending on the severity of the workload and outside activities. Everyone deals with stress differently, but it’s important that they combat it in a healthy way. Nothing is worse for someone than bottling up their stress and not managing it properly. As a resident assistant, I often give my residents advice on ways to de-stress, such as taking a nap, watching something on Netflix or getting ice cream.

One form of de-stressing common to the college student is venting, commonly referred to as ranting. Each person takes ranting into their own hands and can either be harmless or annoying to everyone that comes into contact with the person.

Some ranting is beneficial to the individual in terms of stress relief. This is a time at which the person ranting describes their current struggles in hopes that they can find a way to get past them or to blow off some steam to later return to the struggle.

In this situation, the person ranting is sincere in their motives because they are asking their friend or audience for their suggestions or just to lend an ear. If a person is close to the stressed individual, they are invested in what is being said and want to give advice to help the person in need.

The next category is the “woe is me” rant, or ranting just for the hell of it. We all know someone who loves to go on Facebook or Twitter and write an extensive list of all the problems in their life. These are usually done for attention and don’t receive the anticipated sympathy. Typical responses include, “Seriously?” or “They’re at it again!” This ranting style is not socially acceptable unless it is humorous in the sense of schadenfreude, if you’re into that.

Speaking of schadenfreude, some rants that are truly meant to humor their audience often get confused with the “woe is me” rant. These people often mimic the “woe is me” rant to be sarcastic and satirical. These are the rants that, when posted on Facebook, get the most likes. With these rants, you must know the person well enough to differentiate between the satire and the woe.

Now I’m not saying that ranting should be your last resort to de-stress. If that’s what works for you, do it up! My point is that, as a collective, we should be mindful of our ranting craft and be mindful to the ears and eyes that must endure our rants.