Some of the things that stressed Rebekah out the most, as seen in Sitting Pretty, are concerns about her health and her desire to show that she can be a productive member of society by working hard at her job. Between trying to teach students about the nuances of disability and making her way to the cafeteria to attempt to have lunch with her coworkers on a daily basis, Rebekah needed a day or two to heal from the stress placed on her body. Because of this, she often feels guilty about needing to take days off work. At times, these stressors had physical effects such as the development of cysts between her vertebrae and UTIs that need to be treated with pain medications and steroid injections. This highlights the importance of mitigating stress and developing healthy coping strategies.
Some of the various stressors in Rebekah's life include, managing her health and finding health care, her career and whether her students were understanding the concepts she was trying to teach, tending to her relationships, and ableism/ ableist thinking in general.
In Class: Discuss stressors with students and how they can impact their transition to FIU. The transition to college can be stressful for many first-year students, especially those who may, like Rebekah, be struggling with finances, familial relationships, cultural identity, and making friends.
Have students list the stressors in their lives, rank them and their physical reactions to them, if they have any. Have students take things like their setting and situation (for example, at home, early morning with music playing in the background or on the bus in the afternoon as they scroll through Instagram) into account when developing their lists. Once that’s done, have students come up with ways to cope with these different stressors, including things like joining clubs and organizations at FIU to get involved, make friends, and create healthy outlets for stress (e.g., gym, aromatherapy, massage on-campus through Healthy Living).