It’s the end of the semester. If you’re anything like me, your apartment and car are littered with books, papers, and high heels. I can’t remember the last time I got a manicure, and I’m living off of french press coffee and Subway sandwiches. My laptop is on 24/7–something that probably isn’t good for it, and isn’t good for me either.
This could be me, contemplating a to-do list
Insanely enough, I am tired and stressed out and…happy?
Isn’t that weird? Suddenly, nothing else matters but my survival and my research. I don’t have to care about what I look like. For once, I am thankful for sartorially lazy New Englanders. I live in jeans and black v-neck sweaters like I’m a cartoon character with only one outfit.
I shuffle in and out of Amherst Coffee and the Holyoke Public Library with a stack of books I never even look at, because the research is already stitched into my brain. I ignore all phone calls but am glued to my email like it’s my lifesaver.
When I do crash, I end up roaming the aisles of Stop and Shop, taking up too much space as I consider the price of goat cheese. I make irrational decisions–like getting sandwich meat, but no bread. I smile crazily at the butcher and mumble something about a chicken-brie-green apple sandwich on french bread, the stuff of my dreams.
Because I’m not good at life when I’m in the middle of a project. I become a boringly dressed recluse who only heads outside for books or food. But it doesn’t have to be this way!
For everyone weathering the storm of finals:
1. survive by any means necessary.
2. eat healthy food on time. sleep. exercise. because a run-down body will make your work worse. when you are your best self, you produce the best work.
3. let everybody in the world know that you need help. outsource whatever you can to willing friends and family members. (except your schoolwork. you have to do that yourself.)
4. SET GOOD BOUNDARIES. If you’re in a relationship or a part of a family or both, you have to be clear about what you need and what you can do at this time. If you’re a teacher, your students might be blowing up your email to ask last minute questions. As a student, you may be asked to do something. If it will hurt your health, completely destroy your relationships or your ability to graduate, SAY NO. Respectfully decline.
5. stagger your assignments + create a system that works for you. Sometimes that means breaking down an assignment and working on a little bit each day, or doing the easiest assignment first. For grading, it could mean grading five essays, and then grading 30 quizzes while watching Love and Hip Hop.
6. TAKE BREAKS. Seriously. Your mind will work better if you take breaks every once in a while. Go have a drink with your friends and talk about the best date you ever had. Or try to figure out why Love and Hip Hop is such a train wreck.
7. and when you are ready to fall apart, surround yourself with people who love you and believe in you.