Complaining vs. venting

We’re all too familiar with sleep deprivation, rigorous schedules, demanding homework loads, borderline grades, fatigue, procrastination, family issues…the list can go on and on. Granted, there are many things to complain about. From all the stress we get as students, it’s safe to say that everyone needs to vent once in awhile. However, where do we draw the line between healthy venting and excessive complaining?

In a way, venting is a healthy thing to do. Rather than letting worries fester, venting provides an open outlet for expelling negative emotions and alleviating stress. Complaining, on the other hand, has no clear goal. Complainers choose to stay in a negative mindset and often times drag the listener down into their negativity with them.

As students, complaining is an easy thing to do, especially when struggling to cram school, studying, extracurriculars and physical exercise with a healthy amount of sleep over 24-hour time periods. In fact, most friendships are founded on a mutual dislike, whether it be about teachers, classes or homework because the prevailing wisdom is that whining about problems is an easy way to feel better and because in a competitive school environment, focusing on the negative aspects is easier than focusing on positive ones. Venting is the positive substitute for complaining, and to escape the everyday cycle of negativity, productive venting should be practiced.

In other words, there is a certain art to venting. Effective venting acts as a catharsis, relieving the mind of stress and focusing on the positive aspects of the situation, and thus helps to resolve negative thoughts in a healthy way. In this light, venting can even be considered to be productive.
It’s inevitable that we will have nights with less than the recommended hours of sleep. It’s inevitable that we will sometimes find class material confusing or become overwhelmed with activities and tasks. The issue is not that school is being unfair, it’s our unhealthy mentality. A problem will not disappear no matter how much we whine and cry about it, but it’s still good to talk about them before stress becomes the problem.

By Haixin Guo, Copy lead
Editorial cartoon by Jason Yen