Sometimes the best thing you can do about school is cry. I mean it. When you have three papers due within three days and your brain refuses to construct a single coherent sentence, crying is perhaps the only thing to be done.
I experimented with this the other night while lying in my bed racking my brain for a thesis to a paper that is due in only a few days.
I have to say the results were positive. I allowed myself to sink down to that dark place where late and incomplete papers dwell and I stayed there for fifteen minutes or so. In this place, hope of the timely composing of elegant prose and logical patterns of argument ceases to exist and there is a freedom usually only felt during summer break.
For a few minutes, I gave up.
I cried until I felt like I had no more reasons to be crying. I wiped my nose, dried my eyes, and marched back to my kitchen table and sat back down in front of my laptop.
Within half an hour I had a thesis and it wasn’t horrible; it might even be good.
When I started at U of T, one of my professors said something to me that stuck. It goes something like this, “the perfect essay is the one that’s handed in on time”.
Not every paper I write here will be a masterpiece and not every argument I make will not be well founded. Sometimes it’s enough to just aim for completion. That’s a hard one for me to come to terms with. I’m a keener and I demand far too much from myself when it comes to school. I am not my grades…that’s my new mantra.
I find on those days when I’m overwhelmed with my workload that if I just remind myself that all I need to concentrate on is finishing the assignment, then the quality of the paper will invariably come together. For me it always happens this way, once I’ve finished my first draft the stress of completion lightens and then I am a wellspring of fancy words, arguments, and evidence. I just have to get to that point.
Crying might not be the outlet that works best for you. Maybe for you primal screaming might work. It’s pretty easy to learn this technique. Go to some secluded place like your bathroom or your car if you have one and scream really loud. Oh and don’t hold back. That’s it…I have a Prof. who swears by this technique! I haven’t personally tried this yet, but I’m guessing before May comes I will have. To help you a a good long here’s a sample video of what a good scream sounds like.
Alternatively, you might try kitchen dancing. I call it kitchen dancing, but you can call it what ever you like. I find spontaneous solo dance parties are a great stress reliever. I even catch myself doing this at school while listening to my I-pod. If, in the next week, you see a person grooving across Queen’s park, it’s probably me…say hello.
School is stressful and I’ve found that if I don’t let it all out once in a while I start to feel like I might crumble or explode into a pile of broken little pieces.
October is mental health month. Why not take some time for yourself? De-stress, cry, scream, dance…do whatever you need to do, in order make it through the year with your mental health intact. If you need extra help with stress management or perhaps you need someone to talk to, remember CAPS (Counselling and psychology Services) at U of T.
Hang in there…fall break is almost here!