It’s March again. The end of the school year is approaching and it’s crunch time. Everyone I know (myself included) is up to their necks in midterms, assignments, and essays. It’s hard enough as it is to keep track of deadlines and due dates and to work ahead. But this March, I find myself more swamped than usual. Not only am I balancing the regular workload of my courses, it has seemed that my personal life is (a lot) more active than it generally is. My relationships have been a little rocky as of late. Friends and family are snappier than I remember and I’m having a hard time keeping everyone satisfied. On top of that, my family is moving and the pressure and inconvenience that comes with selling a house are definitely starting to take their toll.
During these days, I often wish that I had the ability to stop time so to sort through my responsibilities and emotions. The world moves so fast and as a student, it can be hard to catch your breath. Where’s the manual that teaches us to balance the work at school AND the work at home? The work we do professionally and the time and effort we invest into our personal lives? Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be one. So we’re expected to “adjust” as we go along. We’re expected to “deal with it.” And normally, I find that I deal with it just fine. But this March, I’m overwhelmed and frustrated. How do I make the expectations stop? Sometimes, it feels like no one notices the stress we’re under. Everyone seems to be on top of their work while you’re struggling just to keep up. But this week, I learned that people do notice. And more than that, they do care.
This Tuesday, I bumped into my professor on my way into class. He held the door open for me and in an attempt to make small talk, he asked me how I was doing. Completely unintentionally, I burst into tears. I don’t think that that was the reaction he was expecting to get but he offered such genuine concern that I’m almost glad it happened. Students often joke at they are “just a number” at UofT but I find that there are many shoulders to lean on if you reach out.
So reach out!
– Use your friends and family as support. Talk to your professors and your registrar. You’ll be surprised to learn that more people care than it initially seems.
– Learn to change your expectations and priorities. Set boundaries and say “no.” There’s a limit to the number of tasks you can juggle so cut yourself some slack.
– Take yourself out.
– Splurge on a massage or a better printer. Or on whatever will help you get over the slump.
– Attend campus events, like those held by St. Mike’s: March Forward (http://smccampuslife.tumblr.com/post/44631112270/keep-calm-and-march-forward). Remind yourself that there are living, talking, walking people out there!
It can be so uplifting to realize that the people around us recognize that we’re not essay-producing, midterm-writing, responsibility-fulfilling machines. And we need to recognize it too.
Till next week,