Is it just me or is fourth week a bit of wet blanket? A lot of people have expressed their distaste of the week before the offical middle of the term to me lately. From exams to projects, the year is in full swing. Perhaps everyone just thinks this term has been particularly bad because we forget every year just how unfortunate it is to readjust to academic life after summer. Nonethless, the pain is real and I have some suggestions to make it a little less excruciating.
My co-intern last summer once described academic life at Harvard as “ducks swimming on a lake.” She explained how on the surface the ducks look peaceful, but beneath the surface the ducks are wildly paddling to stay afloat. Fourth week can definitely feel like paddling in more ways than one.
Everyone recognizes that Lawrence is a challenging environment academically but we don’t always talk about how challenging the social environment can be. Have you ever walked through campus with your sweatpants on, feeling deathly ill, and speedwalked to your room praying that you don’t have to run into someone and engage in small talk for three minutes? While movies and TV often portray college as a constant state of partying and socializing, it’s important to realize it’s okay to take a break. It’s okay to skip a party once in a while to lie in bed and watch “Breaking Bad” instead. Maybe you’ll even thank yourself come Monday.
After getting that first disappointing exam back, it’s easy to adopt an apathetic, resigned attitude, especially towards your least favorite classes. It’s human nature to gravitate toward what you like, but neglecting the lesser-loved coursework doesn’t make it go away. Now is the perfect time to have an intervention with yourself. Get a tutor, find a new, more effective study spot, talk over the lecture material with a classmate. These small changes implemented now will make you a much happier camper come tenth week.
When you talk with your parents on the phone, there’s a good chance you get questions like, “Are you eating enough? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you exercising at all?” While it can be pesky coming from your parents, they might be on to something. It seems to be a distinct part of college culture to wreak as much havoc on your body in four years as possible. You may wonder why it’s so hard to concentrate on Kant when you’re stomach is growling and you have a raging migraine from that two day bender. It’s a game of sacrifice and it’s not always easy. Break a sweat, even for fifteen minutes. Get a massage. Choke down some broccoli with your french fries. Then at least you can ward off those questions next time your parents call.
Fourth week: Who likes it? But the good news is there’s still time to make the weeks to come more bearable. Small changes can help get over that midterm hump and charging bravely forward towards the tenth week beast.