Monday, December 5, 2016

Finals Week: I Think We're Doing It Wrong

It's finals week here in college, and the atmosphere of stress is palpable. But here's the thing: people seem to spend much more time talking about how much they have to do and how stressed they are then they do working. And it seems to be a competition of who has more work to do or who got less sleep last night (I don't sleep often anyways, but that's besides the point). And I can't help but feeling like we're doing it wrong. It's almost gotten to the point where I'm afraid to ask people how they are.

First of all, come on people, take care of yourselves. Eat meals, not just popcorn, ramen, and nutella from the jar. Try to get some sleep. Take a shower. Hang out with your friends. Go to the gym. Take a breath and watch some youtube videos.  Do the things that make you feel like a person. Your work will get done much more efficiently if you spend small amounts of time working instead of 5 hour study sessions where you don't actually get that much done.

Second, plan your day. Then you can be less stressed and get things done. I'm not good at explaining this, but this video is, so go watch that if you have a few minutes.

We need to stop jumping on one another. Stress is not a competition. Don't blame people for not having their work done. Don't blame people for being stressed. Don't blame people for getting their work done. Try to remember that learning is the point of all of this. All of us are just doing the best we can.

On a related note, I've been struggling a little bit over the last few weeks (I am open about my struggles with chronic illness, you can read more about that here), and there have been days when I haven't been able to get out of bed. This, as you can imagine, is very frustrating for someone like me who loves to plan because I can never know whether or not I'm going to be able to get work done. And I recognize that this is not my fault, but when you ask me why I'm not more stressed or why I haven't finished some piece of work, I feel guilty for having illnesses that keep me down.

This competitive stressful atmosphere is hurting us all, despite the fact that I am very happy to be at Brandeis where this only happens for one to two weeks a year as opposed to all the time, and we need to work to take care of ourselves, to forgive ourselves for our faults and wasted time and to love one another. Best of luck to all of you if you are taking finals, and have a great week even if you're not!

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