Schreck stuff: the stuff of fear

Gabby Messina, Staff Writer

Your eyes start to blur, and everything on the page looks like a sea of meaningless jargon, a headache forms, you tremble, and you begin to feel the stick of sweat.

Schreck stuff doesn’t have anything to do with ogres, or swamps, or even talking donkeys. It has to do with fear. Even though schreck stuff was the original term, scientists are now referring to this phenomenon as “alarm pheromones,” or a process in which fear is be transmitted from creature to creature, by scent alone. Unbeknownst to most, this happens in humans in stressful situations, and should be a recognized when around nervous people.

Here’s a scenario: you’ve studied your bum off for your math midterm, you have an A- in the class, you know the material. But a kid who has a C in the class, who didn’t study, transmits his fear to you, and proceeds to ruin your concentration because you are too busy focusing on the sweat that is pooling on your palms, and drenching everything on your desk.

Then think, what if the entire class is filled with students like this? The amount of schreck stuff would be frightening (literally).  One should prepare for situations like these by showing up to school on the day of exam in a gas mask, or for extra protection, a Hazmat suit.

Test anxiety can cause you to blank out and forget everything that you studied so hard for. You don’t want this to happen because of someone else giving you their unbeneficial emotion. This also means that if you associate more closely with people who are emotionally stressed, you can pick up on this stress, compounding the problem because now there are multiple people sending out pheromones, or the scent of fear. So, if your friend is freaking out about the next APUSH test, you should avoid them for a bit, or until life calms down.

Schreck stuff  is fear; fear should be feared.