It’s true, I’ve been sleeping less often than usual. I’ve been snacking during weird hours and eating sugar cookie-flavored popcorn at 10 a.m.
And I glance down at the sticky notes on the keyboard of my computer to see the list of three presentations, an exam, two quizzes and four journal entries due in the next week on top of a research project I’ve barely began and two side jobs, plus owning a small company, and my easy answer would be, “busy.”
But this finals week is not about me. It’s not about the stress, anxiety and realization I don’t understand a single concept on my study guide. It’s not about the lack of sleep. It’s about the plans that are unfolding for me.
When people ask me, “How’s your week?” I reply, “I’m busy, but I’m still.” Maybe, too still. But then I remind myself this is the way it’s supposed to be. We’re supposed to feel at peace. We’re supposed to be sober-minded and not become hung up on the small things of the world. And I know I have a lot to do, but it will be accomplished. Five semesters in, and completion hasn’t failed me yet.
I watched a Vimeo video last week that reminded me of something important: our degrees are not about us. They’re about the way we’ll help other people once we leave.
The things we learn here are only a glimpse of the things we’ll find in the years to come. And we see some of our friends applying their knowledge already, such as my friend Danny, who is a part of the nursing program. He’s the first person we call with random symptoms and questions about whether or not we need to go to the doctor. Our typical diagnosis: exhaustion. And our prescription is sleep.
And sometimes we fail, in the way I’m taking an interpersonal communication class studying nonverbal cues, but for the life of me I can’t maintain eye contact with the cute boy who sits next to me.
I think that sometimes we forget that the things we’re taught – the really difficult things we’re taught, either in content or in emotional investment – are the things we feel are a burden. That’s because they are, and they will be. And our learning of it now is what allows for us to manage it later when we experience it in our career in a very short amount of time.
I’m sitting in Martha Miller with papers strewn about my computer, a half-eaten bag of popcorn, a water bottle and five open notebooks, and I laugh. This is only the beginning of the greatest adventure of my life.
I will be still. I will rest in the peace that has been so freely given to me. And I will learn. I will learn, not for myself, but for all of the people who will be waiting for me.