The 2019 fall semester is rapidly coming to a close, and if you’re anything like myself, you’re freaking out right about now. If you’re really similar to me, then you’re also a senior who’s facing down your last fall semester as an undergrad, and if you’re especially like me, you’re also in the middle of your capstone paper which is, to put it mildly, really stressful! You’ve also got other papers, exams and presentations to finish, and somewhere along the way you’re somehow supposed to take care of yourself? Does anyone actually know how to make time for that? I’m asking for a friend (the friend is me, I’m the friend).
Regardless of this mad dash of the next month or so, I have found there are one or two things that have helped me mitigate the craziness in the past. First and foremost is some sound advice from my dad: ‘It’s always encouraging to have something to look forward to.’ When we talk about things to look forward to, usually he’s invoking this advice as a way to support my impulse-buying of concert tickets I don’t really need, but I find it to be widely applicable in other ways as well. Time, whether we like it or not, will not stop moving forward, so while your deadlines are moving closer and closer on the treadmill of time, so is the time beyond those deadlines. The sun will rise and set over and over again over the next few weeks, and there will be moments beyond that presentation you’re dreading; there will be a 12 a.m. beyond the 11:59 p.m. when your final paper is due.
The best way to focus on those beyond moments is to have something tangible to hang on to that’ll get you through. For example (and I’m really not trying to brag or anything), the main thing getting me through this week is the Hozier concert I’m going to on Friday. What got me through last week was the premiere of season three of “The Crown” on Netflix on Sunday. The week before that I honestly can’t remember because again, time won’t stop moving! My point still stands.
I’ve also found it helpful to set personal limits for myself and my emotional bandwidth. It’s this idea of the time that I can physically give to something versus what I can emotionally, mentally give. Can I have that group project meeting at 2 p.m. on a Wednesday when I haven’t eaten yet that day and really should? I could physically, yes. But should I also consider all the moments I’ve had to spend on work this week as well, and know that one more thing going on in an already packed day is going to make things that much harder for me? Just because you can doesn’t mean you should, and although sometimes you don’t have the choice not to, find those optional moments and treat your mind kindly if you find you haven’t been doing so recently.
We will eventually live in those beyond moments, and even though there are assignments and more school in between us and those moments, I wish everyone the best of luck in getting there. Find that point to focus on, treat yourself kindly and, just maybe, we can pull this thing off.