So here it is, a little less than two weeks into April, meaning there is a little than two weeks left of classes. Frightening when you think about it that way. Correction: Exciting that the end is so near, but frightening at the amount of things that need to get done in that short period of time. Papers, presentations, and prep for exams defines the life for most of us, along with sleepless nights, accumulating stress, and frantic study sessions in the library. Is there really anyway to avoid the inevitable feeling of bombardment during the month of April? Could I have procrastinated less, managed my time better, or studied more to ease the pain?
Now I may be different than some of you, but I feel like regardless of what I do, I always feel the same. Throughout the semester I take great notes, attend my classes, do assignments on time, avoid procrastination, make study guides etc, yet every semester, the end creeps up and dumps a massive pile of things on my to-do list. With internships, jobs, organizations, and maintaining somewhat of a social life, there’s only so many hours in the day to put towards school work. At this point, I hardly even feel relief when I check one of my tasks off the list because the list seems never-ending. I consider myself a little obsessive compulsive, quite nerdy, and a borderline insomniac, and wrapping up my last semester of undergrad is taking its toll on my body. Pulling all-nighters has become a common solution to lack of time, and I’ve amazed myself at how incredibly casual and easy it has become to do so. Sometimes, I’ll even come across other friends who are pulling all-nighters and the act will morph itself into a social experience.
“Don’t lose yourself in the grind. You may lose your mind, but don’t ever lose you”
Like I said before, I have a sleeping problem. I’m not quite sure if this is due to my stress level, but I’m almost positive the two are related. It seems that in the moments I lay restless in bed, attempting to fall asleep, my mind neglects to relax. Instead, I can’t stop thinking about all of the things I need to accomplish the next day, the day after, and so forth. As a result, I either lie awake for hours or I fall asleep for a few hours and wake up ready to accomplish! I can only compare it to when its really important that you wake up at a certain time and because your mind is consciously and subconsciously focussed on getting up at that particular time, you wake up before your alarm even goes off. Usually when this happens, you feel awake, alert, and ready to go, and this is how I feel almost every day. There are times mid-day when I start to feel tired or dragging, but I’m most productive once the sun goes down, so my second wind kicks in!
I’ve learned to embrace this phenomenon, so functioning with little sleep has become a key part of my lifestyle. Are there other people with this problem? Are there other students who find themselves awake as anything at 3 A.M struggling to find something other than infomercials on television? Regardless of the lack of sleep, I still find myself stressed and overwhelmed, as I’m sure majority of the student body is feeling right now. Keeping organized, making checklists, and creating schedules for desired completion of tasks are definitely helpful, but I’m the first one to admit that the feeling never really subsides until every final grade is posted on OneStop.
Advice I’ve gotten has included “You need to relax”, “Don’t Procrastinate”, “Take one assignment at a time”, and my favorite, “Just be sure to get lots of sleep”. Like did you not listen to anything I just said! I think my stress is due to the ridiculous expectations that have been ingrained in my brain. You have to have work experience, you have to be involved, you have to have internships, and on top of all those you need to maintain great grades. Oh, and then you have to have a great resume, practice interview skills, and network with companies. If only doing all of these things guaranteed a job, but they don’t, because everyone else is doing the same thing! And, as each year goes by, newer and better things are added into the curriculum to help students conquer the dreaded economy making the competition even more fierce. There really isn’t a fool proof method to being successful. It comes from the perfecting of several components and the ability to outshine those around you. You have to find ways to differentiate yourself and ways to make people remember you; otherwise your name will get lost in a stack of cookie-cutter resumes.
So like I’ve said before, don’t lose yourself in the grind. You may lose your mind, but don’t ever lose you. It’s all you’ve got that truly separates you from the person graduating to your right and the person graduating to your left. Whatever it is that separates you from others, SELL IT! Sell it to yourself and sell it to prospective employers.
You wouldn’t want to look back on all the stress, lack of sleep, bad habits, and the relief you never thought you’d achieve and feel as if it wasn’t worth it, would you? This is the foundation for your future, the beginning of what’s to come. I know the only thing that keeps me sane in times like these is remembering why I’m here and most importantly, where I want to be.
Two more weeks. Keep your head up and keep trucking whether you graduate May of this year, next year, or even the next.
Tomorrow Starts Here.