On Tuesday afternoon, I finished my last exam of undergrad.
It has taken some time for that fact to sink in. I’d imagined walking out of the exam centre skipping with joy in the sunlight. Instead, I spent a half hour calculating the mark I would need to pass, reviewing the questions I was unsure about in my head, and fretting over whether I’d done poorly enough to lose my prof as a potential reference. The past couple weeks were a whirlwind of work, and I think it’ll take a few more days for me to recover from the feeling of constant stress.
However, I am on my way there. On Tuesday night, I slept before midnight and woke up at nine the next morning. I hadn’t gotten a rest like that since the winter break, and I feel lighter already. I spent Wednesday morning in bed, drafting up a list of things to do. There were the less exciting items: paying off my OSAP debt, booking a dentist appointment, applying for awards. But I also messaged my friends and scheduled coffee dates and movie nights. I looked at drop-in fitness classes at Hart House and the Athletic Centre (taking advantage of my gym membership before it expires!). As I’m covered under my mom’s insurance until the end of the school year, I booked myself a 90-minute massage for next week. I also browsed around for cool events around campus to attend, such as the Intro to American Sign Language workshop at Woodsworth on Friday.
It feels so nice to fill my calendar with all the fun activities I could want. I was in full time summer school last year, so it has been eighteen months since I last had a true break, free from academic pressure. Of course, the “now what?” question still looms. I am deep in job searching mode, checking job boards and LinkedIn daily. I just signed up for the U of T Next Steps Conference, which I attended last year and enjoyed. It’s not an easy process, and I’m sure that a lot more stressing awaits me. However, I am trying to limit myself to applying for just one job a day, for two reasons. Firstly, I want to put time into my applications, including researching the company and role and writing tailored resumes and cover letters that will increase my chances of getting an interview. I also don’t want to throw myself into positions just for the sake of it, and I’m fortunate enough that I have some financial flexibility (as I live at home) to allow that.
Secondly, and just as importantly, I really do need a break. I need to catch up on sleep and exercise and all those books on my to-read list. A lot gets shoved to the side during the school year, and this is the time to pick up those loose ends. Self care is typically the first to go, and I want to make it a priority right now. While I have no idea where I will be in September — and that’s a terrifying idea when I dwell on it — for the moment, I’m just looking forward to making myself a nice dinner and taking my dog for a long walk in the park.