The Semester Life Got Really, Really Real

I’m overworked, overtired and underpaid (read: not paid at all). I am almost never at home and almost never not worrying about something I should probably be doing but can’t seem to put my finger on.

I must be a reporting student.

This semester has been really something. I described it to a friend of mine as “running on a treadmill that’s set a notch too fast.” That really is what it feels like, though. I’m running. Fast. I’m doing a lot, and I’m getting a lot done. I’m increasing endurance and speed at the same time. I’m a track coach’s dream.

I’m also constantly on the verge of falling over.
And I’m not sure how I feel about it.

Sometimes I feel like this.
Sometimes I feel like this. (click to see .gif)
Other times I feel like this.
Other times I feel like this. (click to see .gif)

Part of me really likes it. Look at me! I’m sending so many professional emails and calling important sources and going to meeting and organizing fundraisers and applying for jobs and making graduation schedules and looking into going to Africa! And I’m happy! Look at all the things I can do at one time!

Part of me is terrified. How fast can I run? How far can I run? How far can I run this fast? Visions of the original marathon man spring into my mind — I don’t want to die right after delivering my message.

There’s a lot more I could say on the subject of my busy-ness. I, however, like solutions.

The big question: how do I reconcile these two combatting views? I’m not really sure, to be quite honest. I don’t want to give up any of my commitments, and I also don’t want to feel like I don’t have time to decompress. As we know, thought, I like lists. So, here are some of my ideas.

  1. FINALLY LEARN THE ART OF TIME MANAGEMENT. This is a very abstract, seemingly insurmountable goal. It’s something I’ve been told all my life, something I wish I could wrap my head around. I know that practice makes perfect, so I need to hold myself strictly accountable for being a productive member of society.
  2. Get it done early. This ties very closely into time management, but I wanted to go into specifics. I’m not only talking about starting a paper more than 12 hours before it’s due or calling sources as soon as I have their numbers. I’m talking about within a 24-hour period. Getting things done in the morning, packing phone calls and interviews and writing just one more paragraph of an essay from when I wake up until 9 p.m. Then, at 9 p.m., stop. Stop the spinning cogs and take a break. Drink some tea and read a chapter of a new novel. This obviously isn’t a perfect system, but it could go miles toward keeping me sane.
  3. Eat well, live well. STOP EATING JUNK FOOD. I’m supposed to be paleo for my insulin resistance anyway. It makes it even more crucial that I stay away from fast-food and sugary snacks — it’ll keep my brain awake, my headaches lessened and all my other symptoms at bay.
  4. Keep snacks on hand. In the (censored) words of the Wu-Tang Clan, “Low blood sugar ain’t nuthing ta mess wit.”
  5. Ask for help. You don’t live in a bubble. Don’t act like you do.

Updates (hopefully good ones) to follow.

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