It's procrastinating o'clock on Tuesday night of the week before fall break. I write to you while ferociously crunching away at a perfectly crisp apple and blithely adding another layer of stiii-ii-iiicck to my computer keyboard. It goes without saying that I'm also furiously avoiding any of the schoolwork I should actually be doing. Oberlin's a little bit on-edge at the moment. You can feel it in the air. There's a certain level of heightened anticipation for the upcoming fall break - and a certain amount of freaking out over the midterm tests, quizzes, presentations, and papers that come before our week-long breath of brisk autumn air. Right now Oberlin is nothing like it will be during finals week, but the buzz and hum of worry and work-work-work is still palpable, noticeable.
I'm certainly in no position to write a step-by-step entry on how to get through an Oberlin exam week (whether it's the comparatively mild midterm week or the awful spectacle that is finals week)... because FRANKLY, I'm a bit of a mess. Tired, unwashed hair, sticky apple fingers, laundry a wrinkled heap waiting to be put away, a paper that needs writing, a blog entry I'm writing instead, etcetera etcetera, and this just in: I'm currently failing to strike that homework/practicing balance - oh! It's a fine line we connies often tread.
Not everyone has a ton of midterms. Bizarrely, even if you don't have a lot to do, you can still sometimes get caught up in the frenetic atmosphere. When it's that time again, the mood here definitely changes. Oberlin can be intense. This craziness is contagious. As a first-year, I found the exam week cloud to be overwhelming, soul-squashing, and miserable. Truly, it does kind of suck, but I'm better at managing it these days.
For weeks like these, advice I can offer that I don't always heed includes: Always sleep (I have actually never pulled a true all-nighter), eat good food (good means vegetables, not acres of sugar), plan ahead (in fact in my case, I should plan ahead to plan ahead), and remember that this too shall pass. It always does. You always come out alive. If it gets to be too much, take a moment to marvel in your being. Then power through, or go to bed. Stay the course, do your own thing, and don't let other people's stress get to you.
See you on the other side.