The Struggle Chronicles

The 20s are all about overcoming obstacles. At the end of every semester comes the most dreaded time of all ... finals. It's truly awful what students endure in that time period. All the anguish, turmoil, and chaos that is unleashed is something you have to see to believe. People get truly desperate and never will you ever see more people hitting the books, downing coffee, and purchasing illicit drugs than then. They are the last things that stand between you and freedom (as if you weren't already exercising your freedoms by choosing to pursue higher education). Finals can make or break your grade and more importantly you. You never know, these are the struggle chronicles.

The amount of effort it has taken to get this blog to be aligned perfectly once more with the events of my life as they happen has been unreal. Even in writing this post, I contemplated skipping this entire week of events and fast forwarding to what's most current, but in reflecting I realized people might need to hear about my last pushes of the school year. Just like that year needed some closure, so does my documentation of it via the interwebs. The last week of school was exams, packing, and nonexistent goodbyes. Monday morning I was able to attend my university's inaugural "Our Common Grounds" awards breakfast (7:30AM, like how are all these uppercrust people awake and functioning with full social skills this early in the morning) which definitely was an experience. The best moment was when someone asked me who's plus-one I was and  I replied, I was on the award selection committee #boom. Even during finals season I had a couple of meetings #storyofmylife but I made it through them and moved on to focus on my studies. Tuesday night came around and you know me (obsessive, calculated, and planning every detail of my life and subsequently all those around me), so the plan was to get Buffalo Wild Wings with the General and Bucky (Mac and Connor). JMC was in full swing except the popular one had others to hang out with, no worries. Because I don't really do spontaneous or fun, or the two together, I suggested that we do Mac's laundry (the dude is one of my favorite people but his antics make me cringe ... and then laugh) commando only lasts so long. Separated, washed, hand-washed jeans, rung, dried, and folded for 3 hours as we talked about massive world issues (as if two young adults have all the answers to life's biggest questions). 3AM showed itself and we had finished, and I was totally beat. I knew it was going to be a rough couple of days, but what are friends for? The struggle chronicles were about to get real.

The hardest thing about finals is finding the motivation to study. Like you really have to actually try to do so, even though you need to everything else can seem more important (internal defense mechanisms). I am proud to say I spent the majority of Wednesday studying, first in the TV studio and then in the IFC office. I took a couple study breaks to bring candy and words of encouragement to Bucky and dropped by the multicultural center for free food and good laughs with Bae (Courtney), Dae-Dae, Isora and Ruth. My efforts to hit the books were thoroughly productive and by Thursday I was ready to take my last two finals. I woke up in the morning and somehow ended up being 2 minutes late to my Christianity exam. Everyone was already writing and it was like a Lifetime Movie nightmare. I think I did well on the exam but spent the entire time panicking out of embarrassment and subsequently left a proper ass mark where my butt had sweated it's own weight in water. I studied a little bit more and soon it was time for Latin. That one I think I knocked out of the day damn park (Joe Mauer style ... literally the only baseball player I know of). After that it was on to packing. It's actually disturbing that I can pack up my life in 5 boxes, 3 suitcases and some extra items, seriously. I paid my good friend Zach a visit and brought him sorbet as he was finishing the last paper of his college career. Night fell and you know it wouldn't be my life without doing the most. I spent a good 12 hours with the general, me blogging, and refocusing him, and him studying for an exam. I haven't pulled an all-nighter since last year, but it was definitely one to remember. Memorization, real world applications, and some slight frustration later we made it. I passed out for the last hour on the ground while Mac finished his review. A warm hug and a wish good luck and the dude was on his way. I climbed into bed, slept for an hour and spent the rest of the day packing my room. It was during perpetual struggle of deciding what to donate, to keep and where to pack it, that I realized I have an actual problem. The amount of clothing I have shouldn't even be allowed, it's not normal, at all. The dynamic duo of Zach and Dom arrived in true cavalry style help me out. I stood in my empty room one last time and said goodbye officially close the junior year struggle chronicles for good.

Finals Struggles Tips
  • Study Rewards - I set timers for 30 or 45 minutes where I have to be engaged in studying, that means no phone, laptop or distractions. I have to commit and follow through. When the time rings I get 5-15 minutes to either snack, hit the head or waste time on social media.  Totally works for me.
  • Subject Rotating - If you've got multiple things to study, switch between them. One thing gets too boring or you're stuck, change to the other and go from there. Keep it all fresh in your head.
  • Study Spot - I cannot stand the library, particularly during finals time. Everyone is crazy as hell in there and it's not helpful or conducive to learning. Find a secluded spot, maybe a classroom, an office, a back stairwell - some place and do your own damn thing.
  • Group Study - I personally am not a fan of studying in a group, unless other people are able to explain things to me in layman's terms. Some people like Mac, find it useful to say things aloud and explain them to themselves. Some people like me like to rewrite things over and over until I remember them. Whatever your style, go with it and find people who will help you do so.
  • Free Food & Stress Relief - Your institution knows you're struggling, so take advantage of any and all free food opportunities and distressing activities. Stress balls, massages, therapy dogs, plant potting, painting, music, dancing, yoga, etc. along with all the food you can handle are great ways to take a break from the grind.
  • Celebrate - when you're finished treat yourself with something you really enjoy. Friday I went to Applebees with Zach and just ate like a prince and loved the hell out of it. It felt so good to be totally done.

*Finals are such a struggle, you know why, because people don't take the time to help other people out. I can't stand when people finish early and just lallygag rubbing it in other's people faces. You are literally the worst. No I cannot hang out or do anything, I still have finals. Be considerate and either lend a hand or keep on moving. You know how much people appreciate those little things you do to make their lives easier .... SO DAMN MUCH. Do it and mean it, and feel good about it. The struggle chronicles don't have to be so hard.

My blog post question for the day is ... what's the weirdest thing you've seen during finals? I mean I overhead a guy telling his other buddy that he was going to break up with his girlfriend because he needed to focus on school and gave a dude who was on the crapper a highlighter under the stall - talk about ratchet as hell.


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