March is a mad mad month.
It is that uncontested season of the school year where everything academic explodes into a huge mess of deadlines, caffeine and printer ink shortages.
Coming off Reading Week is disorienting, a little like Alice in Wonderland, sitting down to a tea party with the March Hare, the Dormouse and a Mad Mad Hatter.
Dormouse: you know you say things are “much of a muchness” — did you ever see such a thing as a drawing of a muchness?’
The muchness of everything can be frustrating, even infuriating.
It is easy to feel impatient, crippled, or defeated with the state of affairs, personally, socially or academically. But there are little ways we can learn to deal with the madness, little ways of handling the stress. Here are some conversations at the Mad tea table, that seem strangely similar to conversations we may be having at lunch, dinner or library tables:
Alice felt dreadfully puzzled. The Hatter’s remark seemed to have no sort of meaning in it, and yet it was certainly English. ‘I don’t quite understand you,’ she said, as politely as she could.
If you still can’t quite figure out what is going on at this point in the semester, it is time to be more proactive.
Whether it be class content, an assignment instruction, a potential essay approach, it is important to seek clarification.
Email the professor, go to office hours, or talk to your peers.
Tea-time de-stress technique #1:
For some high-level deliciousness, dip crumbly butter cookies into your tea/coffee.
“Mad Hatter: “Why is a raven like a writing-desk?”
“Have you guessed the riddle yet?” the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.
“No, I give it up,” Alice replied: “What’s the answer?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea,” said the Hatter”
If you are confused with the written feedback you’ve been getting on assignments.
Not having the slightest idea is frustrating, and incredibly counter-productive.
Begin a dialogue with your professor.
This gives you a chance to explore how the raven is like a writing desk, and why this is relevant to you learning. The process of figuring things out with your professor will lead you to a better understanding of the ideas you have been formulating in your head, and maybe extra marks!
Tea-time de-stress technique #2:
Try relaxing loose-leaf teas such as chamomile, hawthorne or lavender.
‘If you knew Time as well as I do,’ said the Hatter, ‘you wouldn’t talk about wasting it.’
Do not waste your time.
You may work well under pressure, and work best when writing the essay the night before. But it would still be wise to finish reading the novel, or the article the essay is about a couple of nights before that.
If you have a lab report to write, break them up into stages, and do a little bit each day, in manageable bite-size amounts.
Tea-time destress technique #3: Look at these cat marshmallows
Most importantly, stay calm and balanced in your studying. Take a walk, go buy yourself a drink, and return with a little warmth in you, and less fog in your head.
After all, now that Roll up the (DOUBLE) Rim is here…
“Yes, that’s it! Said the Hatter with a sigh, it’s always tea time.”