Keeping Your Head Above Water
I don’t know about all of you, but I have just about reached the end of my rope. “Why,” you ask? The answer is simple: it’s the end of the semester. More importantly, it’s the end of the year which marks the end of my master’s program and my student career. WOW. It feels bizarre to say that I will have my last class EVER this Thursday. (That is, unless I decide to pursue a PhD…….but that won’t happen for a very long time, so it’s a moot point for now.) With the culmination of my student career comes many joys, but it also brings a lot of storms before the sunshine. With finals, papers due, and many other responsibilities looming over me, I can’t seem to keep my head above water. I feel like I’m barely staying afloat.
In previous postings I’ve talked about the importance of self-care and not taking on too much. Well, here’s another one for you: don’t wait until the end of the semester to wrap everything up!! This is not one of those, “here’s a life lesson I learned this semester” posts. This is a lesson I am learning right now, the hard way. Being a commuter has been great, up until the last few weeks, because my travel time seriously cuts into my study time, or just time in general. And then I have classes, work, internship, homework, responsibilities at home, and to top it all off, I decided to do a theater production this semester. It all sounded good at the time, but I didn’t consider how absolutely stressed out I would be at the end of the semester (aka right now). I have barely left myself any time for sleep, relaxation, or studying for that matter. Are all these experiences good ones? Yes, even more than that, they are GREAT ones. But I am metaphorically ripping my hair out at this point. Those close to me could attest to my high blood pressure and more than cynical outlook these past few weeks as my stress has multiplied.
If there’s anything I have learned through all this, it is to know yourself and to know your limitations. In a previous post I talked about strategies to prevent stress due to procrastination. I write this, however, to pass along what I’m learning the hard way. Don’t just plan out your week. Plan your month, semester, year, and life all in ways that will allow you to enjoy all the experiences you’re having, not resent them. When you reach graduation, you will want to look back and think of all your happy memories and the amazing experience your education has been. You won’t, however, want to feel like you’re “just so glad it’s over”. I know I don’t want that, but maybe that’s how I’m feeling right now. Do yourself a favor and set limits, boundaries, and know how much you’re able to take on. It’s much better to look back at a few really fond memories than a bunch that are just so-so.