Seriously, it’s not worth it.
I began this semester stressed out. One of my classes started off right away with a large project, with a little less than a week provided to work on it. Having received little-to-no instructions on how to take on this challenge, I freaked out. I legitimately lost my cool during the very first week of school (ah, I didn’t mean to make that silly rhyme).
In the span of that first week, I went from thinking I was capable of finishing the project, to thinking about dropping the course. A lot of my classmates had understood the project requirements from the get-go, while I thought I was completely helpless. After reaching out to more classmates, and meeting with my TA, I realized I wasn’t the only one who suffered with this first week, and that I was actually doing good steady progress on my work. I had begun to feel better and more confident about the course.
So after locking myself up to code in my room for the weekend; frantically messaging all of my classmates whose contact information I had; and spending ~4 hours at the TA’s office… my program complied with every requirement on the rubric.
Moral of the story? Do not allow yourself to put your mind and body through too much stress. It is unnecessary and counterproductive. I pretty much made myself sick.
Yes, I am currently suffering through the hardest semester I’ve had so far, and yes it will take a lot of work to survive the 8 weeks we have left of school, but I cannot allow myself to wither with stress.
Since that nightmare of my first week, I have taken better care of myself. I strive to make a constant progress in each class every week, and I try to keep a balance between work and leisure.
A wonderful activity that helps me stay calm is dancing. I am very excited to be taking an Intro to Ballroom Dance class this semester. It makes me happy and it keeps me active! Plus I’ve always loved dancing, even though I used to be pretty shy about it when I was in high school. So now I get to learn proper technique with dances I know, and I also get to learn a ton of new dances I never thought I’d like! Although it’s only 2 hours a week, it is a perfect opportunity for me to blow off steam. It is these pleasant activities throughout the week that keep me sane.
Hiking is another activity that brings me peace of mind, and is probably my favorite. After my hectic first week, I had a weekend with an unusually light workload, and I of course couldn’t waste that opportunity. So I took a day trip to Taos over the weekend and hiked up Wheeler Peak, which was a totally new experience for me. I had been at that hike trail before, exactly a year had passed since that last visit, but I had only made the shorter trek to William’s Lake. This time around I was determined to make it all the way to the highest point in New Mexico. And oh how I enjoyed that experience. The weather was particularly amenable that day. It wasn’t too windy at the top, and the temperature was just right. Needless to say, I was in a glowing mood for the week that came after that adventure.
Last week I was able to take a couple hours off between work and homework, and I went back to my good old faithful Bosque Trail for some much-needed rollerblading. It had been a long time since I had last used my rollerblades, and it felt wonderful to be back at that familiar spot.
It is not always easy to stay calm throughout the semester, but it is nice to have some reminders here and there that it’s not good to freak out. Don’t let yourself get too frustrated! Always remember to take a break, drink plenty of water, and take one day at a time. Also, allow yourself to rest. Really rest. Sometimes when I feel like I haven’t accomplished much in a day, I stay up late trying to cram as much “productive” activity as I can before sleeping. We all deserve to sleep well, regardless of what we accomplished that day. So just remember to not be too hard on yourself and to try and fit in those activities you like to do at some point in your schedule!
Let me know what your favorite activities are. I hope you all have a great second half of the semester!