Confusion Corner: Coping with exhaustion and the midterm blues

Walking to your 10 a.m. class, you have probably witnessed the defeated eyes and slow walk of your fellow classmates. Even their presence and participation during your 10 a.m. class is different. Leaving your 10 a.m. class, you head over to your Monday club meeting to find four members are missing. Noticing this absence, you also realize you have not seen some of your closest friends in the past week. Instead of reaching out yourself, you make a point to tag them in a meme tomorrow. Maybe that will fill the gap.

Starting roughly two weeks ago, there has been a collective tiredness that we as a student body have been facing. It is not a new or strange occurrence; in fact, it happens every single year.  Ascribing this shift in mood to midterms or the weather would be too easy — it is more complicated than that. It is almost as if we work on clock, and this tiredness we feel is the effect that three grueling months on campus has on us. Why exactly three months? I wish I had an answer, but it is a correlation I see every single year.

The exhaustion always follows fall break and Homecoming. We seem to be cheated by these events because they are short, sweet glimpses of academic release and new faces that are then ripped away after the weekend is over. Suddenly, we are placed right back into the academic routine we created for ourselves.

It is almost as if we work on clock, and this tiredness we feel is the effect that three grueling months on campus has on us.

In times like this — when exhaustion brought about by work seems to just keep piling on — it is important to be even more open and honest with ourselves. We do have options before us after all: the choice to keep pushing forward or to take a break.

If it is a question of whether you should skip your Monday 10 a.m. because you decided to do a 2 a.m. Wawa run the night before, then you should probably just stick it out and go to class.  However, if attending your Monday 10 a.m. is causing you mental stress every time you have to put effort into it, then talk to your professor and make the healthiest choice for yourself.  Know the difference between feeling tired and feeling mental anguish.

It may seem impossible to have the ability to quit things midway through the semester, but it is still an option for a reason. When faced with the decision of pushing through or giving yourself a break, both choices are valid yet personal. In my opinion, more emphasis should be given to the latter option — it is not quitting when you are lucky enough to know and understand your limits. Make sure that you end things for a reason, though, and not just as an excuse.

So, as we advance further into the semester, no one else can decide what is worth your time and effort. That is a conversation we should all have with ourselves when the time comes. Until then, enjoy the work you decide is worth your time — that is, after all, why we are here.

Ellie Moonan is a Confusion Corner columnist who somehow still makes it to her 10 AM class with a 24 ounce Wawa coffee in hand.


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