Finding a balance between work and fun

Another semester, another finals week

The past two weeks have solidified what I always thought might be true: I am quite good at relaxing. I would daresay too good. My mindset wasn’t always of the “eh-don’t-stress-yourself-out-too-much” variety. I had more of a “you-must-be-chained-to-this-study-carrel-forever” way of thinking, but over the past few years, I’ve optimized my balance between work time and fun time.

Still, I am very thankful that the past week has seen a few days of rain and overall glum weather. If it weren’t for that bad weather reminding me I should probably be inside, say, in a library studying for my final exams, I’m sure I would have been traipsing around outside, happily ignoring my deadlines. I love traipsing. Give me some nice cumulus clouds perforating a cerulean sky, and there’s no chance I can give homework my full focus.

When springtime rolls around in Charlottesville, my soul sings a happy song. I just underwent my third East Coast winter (which, honestly, wasn’t very cold at all — remember February’s strings of 70-degree days?), but I’m still not used to the concept of puffy jackets. Therefore, I reserve April and May for spending hours of my days outside reveling in the Gardens, on the Lawn, on my front porch or anywhere I can generally bask in the sun.

Then finals come and I’m reminded scores of hours of studying, writing papers and test-taking still stand between me and that beautiful season designated for constantly being outside called summer. Last week, this realization didn’t keep me from spending time with friends or getting out of town. I had a great time, sure, but I’m now paying the consequences. A few papers and a couple exams are all I have left, but as my list of assignments dwindles, so does the amount of time I have to complete it. It will all work out! (Right?)

While I slightly regret my affinity for giving myself a break every now and again, I’m mostly content. There’s the responsibility of taking school seriously, of course, but when the weather finally turns warm, why not look back at all the work you did when it was cold out and celebrate a little? This is a reminder to you, the admirably hardworking student — you have accomplished so much in your studies and you should go easy on yourself every once in awhile. That’s what I, justifiably or not, told myself last week, resulting in eating lots of ice cream, walking Downtown often and even getting out of Charlottesville. Even as I sit in stacks, now, cursing the late night I’m surely going to pull, I’m glad.

It’s been a long semester. A long year. The Rotunda reopened. The presidential election happened. We met a bunch of new people, made new friends, took hard tests, led student organizations. If you’re a first-year, get ready for the next three to only get better, and if you’re a fourth-year, thank you for showing us what undergrads can accomplish.

Take a moment to reflect, even if you’re still taunted by impending exams or the year that just was, and remind yourself to do something to reward all you’ve done. Whether your reward is going to Beach Week or simply sitting down outside (like me), please, I beg you, have fun. You, my friend, deserve it.

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