The Struggles of the Cactus Rebellion

Initially, we were full of hopes and dreams of a fantasy that at the time was nothing but a pie-in-the-sky: a 100-page stress management workbook designed by college students, for college students. We had planned extensive features for the workbook, an extensive trial period for us by our fellow peers, and translation work to expand our audience. This year was a challenging process of reconciling our dream with the harsh reality that we were each tremendously busy people who had little time to give to this project. It was a process of letting go of original Cactus Rebels, and welcoming a new Cactus Rebel to the family. We found we had less time to finish the workbook. Deadlines were moved, sighs ensued. Designing this workbook caused us to go onto a journey of our own in managing our own stress levels. It became ironic that working on our project became a stressor to us. We learned to use our own techniques to take a break from the project itself. We learned to see each member in our Rebellion as someone struggling with stress just like us, and we learned to be patient with each other and cheer each other on. As we wrestled to find balance to work on this project while keeping up with schoolwork and finding time to work through personal struggles, we learned to put aside any selfish motivations in looking good for crafting this workbook.

If we were not willing to give such motivations up, we would have quit the first couple of times it went rough. So many times, we felt ready to give up any honor recognition for those extra hours of sleep and more time to work on our grades for academic scholarships and grad schools. Instead we kept returning to our original passion–to set college students free from stress so they can fulfill their potential in life–to find our focus to continue this process and to accept that things might turn out less perfect than we had hoped for. Even if the workbook did not have every feature we had dreamed of, even if the trial period was not as long as hoped for, even if our workbook changed its scope from interdisciplinary to psychological, and even if our website and our video were not as fancy as the others, we knew we needed to keep going. College students need our workbook!

We are here in the Showker Prize to represent the imperfect project that deserves to continue. We kept together even when members struggled not to quit. We united, not only as college students trying to help our peers mange their stress, but as college students trying to manage our own stress. Even with our challenges, we recognized that our problem–college students struggling with stress–has continued to be as relevant as ever. At some point we had to let go of our pie-in-the-sky and appreciate every minute we gave to design this workbook. Every time we put down our textbook, missed our favorite TV show, and lost time to sleep to serve in the Cactus Rebellion, we did so to keep the dream alive. Not only do we hope to inspire our peers to manage their stress levels through our workbook, but we also hope to inspire our peers to keep fighting for their dreams like we did for ours.

And now, we have a beautiful, 130-page workbook to show you at the Final Reveal. We brought it forth with tears from our own stress in making it, and with the hope that it will wipe the tears of stress away from the face of every college student who reads it and finds hope to battle their stressors and reclaim a life of joy. College is the time for growth and change, Brigewater College is the place for the whole person to be educated, and the Cactus Rebellion is the force for college students to take control over their lives and to continue reaching for their dreams, no matter the challenges ahead.