After a bit of a hiatus, I’m back to my Monday blog, and it feels good to be writing again. Ever since Thanksgiving break, I’ve been caught up in this dreadful part of the semester, known so lovingly as crunch time (aka those last two to three weeks of the fall term when everything is due all at once). And I’ve noticed that being in grad school is no different than my undergraduate experience…these last few weeks are the most dreaded of the entire fall term for me.
Thankfully, it’s my last week of classes and I have one more week of finals. But all of the things I let slip by are finally starting to catch up with me. I find it’s very easy to beat myself up about all of the things I should’ve done this semester: “Why didn’t you start your research earlier?” “You should’ve studied harder for that test.” “You’ve made things more difficult for yourself by waiting for so long!” And this line of thought can go on for hours and hours. I find that I become so overwhelmed when I think of all of the “shoulda, woulda, coulda” of the past semester.
But what purpose does that serve? Am I accomplishing anything by beating myself up for the mistakes I’ve made? Nope. I am wasting time and energy worrying about things that can’t be changed instead of being proactive about the things I can control. Staring at deadlines and due dates isn’t helping me–it’s only worrying me more.
This morning, I was lying in bed, just moments before my alarm clock went off. The moment I opened my eyes, my entire to-do list started shuffling around in my brain. That little nagging voice in my head started yelling at me “How are you going to get all of this done?!” I felt choked up and trapped beneath my work. I was giving too much power to that voice, believing her too easily. But then, I decided to do something about it. I set my alarm for a few minutes later and decided to take that extra time to just relax. I didn’t need to finish all of my assignments right at that moment. I still had time, I told that voice. I just needed to take it one day at a time, doing as much as I could each day.
Those few moments of calm were enough to convince me that I should get out of bed and actually start the day. It’s funny how you can become paralyzed by fear that you create for yourself. Too often, I forget that I can control that self-created fear and worry. So as finals week approaches for so many of us, I remind you to take the time to relax and restore your confidence in yourself. Remember that you can’t change the past, but you can control your actions in the present. Everything isn’t due all at once–you have time.
Good luck on finals week to all! If you have tips on how you get through these crunch times, please feel free to share with me.