We have all had our post-break, awkward small-talk elevator rides as we run into friends we haven’t seen since before everyone left for Thanksgiving. You know, the whole “Heeeey! What’s up? How was your break? Relaxing? Yeah, me too.”
Sure, it was good to get away from school for a few days, but while I was gone I could not help but notice the dreaded feeling looming in the pit of my stomach, telling me that I would soon be back to campus for the worst three weeks known to students everywhere: post-Thanksgiving academic hell.
It absolutely sucks.
By now, most of you have probably already experienced the first phase, the one that I like to call the “mini freak-out.” It is not a major freak-out, because you are able to calm yourself down rather quickly by making a “Stuff To Do” list that you tack up in front of your computer screen – the first logical step in getting things accomplished. Also, you have not yet resorted to purchasing Adderall from your neighbor with Attention Deficit Disorder.
But it is still a freak-out nonetheless, amarked by the excessive bitching, moaning, sighing and complaining to roommates and friends. At this point you still have about two weeks left to finish up your final papers and projects before finals start, but rather than actually doing anything now you decide to towel the door, watch a rerun of South Park and then go to bed. Nice.
Now, some of you may have already experienced phase two, also known as the “major freak-out,” but if not, watch out – it is coming. During this stage you may experience dizziness, intense sweating, irritability, stomach pains and, my personal favorite, crying. You could blame some of these symptoms on the increased caffeine intake, strange pharmaceuticals in your bloodstream and the highly irregular sleep pattern you have forced your body to endure, but I think there is more to it than that.
Due to a combination of poor planning and an exponential growth in procrastination leading up to finals, many of us have only ourselves to blame for our grievances this time of the semester. But then again, maybe not. Often professors tend to give the most amount of work just prior to the final examination, wreaking havoc on our “normal” work and sleep schedules. We suddenly find ourselves sharing assignment deadlines with multiple classes or what’s worse, your hardest classes.
And then there’s the “Oh, shit” moment. As in, “Oh, shit. I totally forgot about (fill in the blank)”- which is the absolute worst thing ever, because now, on top of all the crap you have to do before the sun comes up, you find yourself having to also do something completely tedious, miserable and frivolous, like writing a stupid column for The GW Hatchet (kidding).
But seriously, I really should be doing something else right now. I mean, I have not even started working on several of my final projects yet and as a senior it is not like I can just save them all for the last minute, rally and pull through at the bitter end like I did with many of my underclassmen classes. No, this is the big-time now, and on top of it all I still have to worry about graduating on time and finding a job and a place to live.
During my time here at GW, I have found that the best way to make it through this biannual dark, terrible time is to just accept it. You cannot fight it. You go to GW after all, so it is not like you can just throw up your hands in the air and say, “Fuck it!” No, that never seems to work. You just have to keep reminding yourself that no matter how much this period of your life sucks, it will all be over before long and you will soon be given a fresh start come spring.
“Reading days” are in two weeks, right? That should be enough time to recover from the massive panic attacks that are plaguing me right now. Now, about that Adderall…
The writer, a senior majoring in journalism, is a columnist and The Hatchet’s arts editor.