I started this semester off so well. I was really on top of it (or at least running alongside of it), but now I’m falling behind. It’s terrible; as the work piles up—burying me in readings and papers—I feel more and more helpless to do anything to stop the carnage. Everything feels like it’s spiraling out of control. I sit around, cradling my planner, trying to organize the mess that is my schedule, and I end up feeling something bordering on despair. Where is the time? Where is the manpower? The way it’s going, I’ll need a team of elves or fairy godmothers.
The worst hurdles, I’ve realized, are the semester-long projects that I’m supposed to be chipping away at. Chipping away? This concept is alien to me. Who chips away when something else is due tomorrow and the next day? Who chips away when she barely has a moment to catch her breath? Not me! I’ve been crossing my fingers and whistling with my eyes closed, waiting for life to surprise me with a miraculous opportunity to catch up.
And have you experienced the Sunday guilt? I have. Every weekend. It’s that feeling you get after not working either Friday or Saturday, that deep, deep pit in your stomach when you realize you’ve passed up on catch-up once again. It’s your Sunday installment of imminent doom. Like swimming in shark-infested waters strapped to a raw steak. A library-free weekend is a sin against yourself (and your successful future).
I watched multiple friends make and then cancel plans for Fall Break (is one day off really a break?). We were thinking along similar lines. Fall Break presented an excellent opportunity to catch up. Why go make memories and have fun when you have a chance to hole up in your apartment, free of friends and distractions, and tackle some of that work that has gotten out of hand? It’s official. College has killed the vacation.
It seems life just rolls along, piling on stress and guilt and sometimes smashing you like roadkill. How is that fair? Sure, I could throw in a lecture about healthy and efficient work habits; we’ve been trying to decode their secrets for three years, and I know only about two people who have actually succeeded. The rest of us are twitchy and anxious and barely keeping up. Wouldn’t it be great if college would let us declare a kind of bankruptcy? And offer us a good old American bailout? Challenges like ours are always easier with a clean slate.