A photo of a long, empty walkway outside.

Long Empty Hallways: How I Deal With a Tragic Exam Schedule

A photo of a long empty hallway in Ramsey Wright
A lovely hallway in Ramsey Wright
It’s official, we are officially half-way through our 49th week of Hallway Appreciation Year! Official Note: Hallway Appreciation Year is not officially recognized by any officials. Before we get to celebrating, let me explain a little bit. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, finals are fast approaching. I find they're one of those grass-is-always-greener situations; whatever your exam schedule ends up being, there's always something that makes it frustrating. Maybe it's too many exams all at once; maybe it's having to hang around campus with nothing to do until late December. This year, I have one final during exam period. It’s on December 21st. By the time you’re reading this, I’ve handed in the last of my assignments,  finished all of my in-class finals, and have completely driven myself up the wall with nothing pressing to do. It's been 12 hours. My concern: when I have a period of time without any pressing deadlines, in the past I’ve just melted away and let simple tasks that are very necessary for my wellbeing, go unaccomplished. I’m talking things like eating food. It’s a problem. I love food. To be honest, I’ve never had to deal with this specific exam schedule before; usually my exams all happen right at the beginning of exam period, with at least one day of two exams. Maybe this is why I'm extra worried. So in response, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to make sure I don’t lock myself away for 2+ weeks now that classes have finished. I have a few things that I want to accomplish this exam period, and this past week I’ve developed some challenges to help myself not melt away into my room and disappear off the face of the earth entirely. The following are a list of reasons as to why I should leave my room. Funnily enough, they all revolve around Beautiful, Long Empty Hallways (BLEHs).
  1. There are a lot of BLEHs that I haven’t explored and/or taken photos of at/near the gyms on campus- and I LOVE long empty hallways. I love them. Maybe I can also exercise at the gym while not standing completely still in BLEHs.A photo of a long, empty walkway outside.
  2. There are no BLEHs in my room. There are BLEHs all over Toronto, even outside (see reference picture of a BLEH that I took because I am obsessed).
  3. Whenever I see a BLEH, I smile. Maybe this is good. Maybe my esophagus is another version of a long empty hallway. I like food.
Perhaps I should abandon this list for another day, and try and make my point in other words. Or make another point all together. Let’s see where this goes. I’ve learned over the years that it’s really important for me to leave my room in order to maintain my physical and mental well-being. If I don’t do anything, I not only feel sluggish and down but also lose the very real sense of accomplishment that I get from going out and doing real human things, like groceries and browsing bookstores. I know from personal experience how difficult it can be to leave your room. There have 100% been periods of time where I can’t get myself to see the benefits of abandoning my own personal safe and quiet space, so I just don’t. At times it can be more than a lack of motivation- it can be the fear of having to face the busy, overwhelming, and all too loud outside world. But when that happens, you stop seeing the little everyday things outside that make you smile. There’s a basset hound that I see out for walks nearly every day, and whenever I do, his happy little trot never fails to bring a smile to my face. It reminds me of my own dogs back home- even if I’m about to write a test that I am severely under-prepared for (I’m talking about you, Introduction to Virology). Time after time I’ve fallen into the trap of isolating myself at the first opportunity, but this time I am determined not to. In case my previous list was incredibly misleading (which I am positive it was), my current strategy is to remind myself of the little things outside my room that make me smile- things I don’t get to see if I stay in my room. Now I ask you, what are some of the things that you do to make sure you interact with the world, even when you don’t have to? … Asking for a friend who currently has no backup plan in case her strategy fails. Happy 49th Hallway Appreciation Week everybody, and remember to let yourself smile! Official Note #2: The Health and Wellness Centre is open as per usual until 5:00 PM on December 21st. At this point, all HWC healthcare professionals enter hibernation until January 7th, 2019. For off-campus resources open during the winter season, be sure to check out this link to after-hours healthcare resources. A gif of Mr. Bean winking.  

2 comments on “Long Empty Hallways: How I Deal With a Tragic Exam Schedule

  1. BLEHs! Hahah love the acronym! Oh my.. I thought I had it bad with my first exam being on the 17th and the 2nd (and last) on the 20th. I usually go to the gym in the morning to make sure I connect with the outside world. When 3pm rolls around I know I’ve stepped out of the house and that’s enough for the day.

    1. That sounds like a great idea! I imagine that feeling of accomplishment is a great motivator for the rest of the day! I’ll give it a shot this week 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the acronym!!

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