5 exams. 3 weeks. Welcome to the second round of midterms AKA the storm of first semester. Today, I emerged from the mess, and I am still alive. T. GOD.
These past few weeks have been rough, but I will not say that they were absolutely terrible. Relative to the carefree schedule of summer, midterm season was constantly busy and stressful, but relative to how I imagine a real working life would be, this is a hundred times more fun.
The thing about grad school is that I don’t mind the studying. I really don’t. And that’s not because I’m a nerd or I’m crazy smart and good at everything, and it’s not because I’ve “grown up” and became more serious about academics (because I have not). Studying in grad school is less of a chore and more of a responsibility, and you can say that I have somewhat matured, which is why I have no trouble upholding this responsibility, but I honestly think the reason I study is because I like what I am doing, and I want to learn. When you reach the point where learning becomes a choice rather than an assignment, you’ll find that life becomes much more enjoyable, no matter how many exams you have.
So the trick is how to reach that point. For me, it’s all about the chill factor.
I am a very chill person. Chill is my favorite word. I live and breathe chill vibes. I’m all about that shit. ~chill~
So when midterm season gears up and the environment around me turns into this anxious whirlpool of heavy breathing and groans, I do what I do best and stay fucking chill. Like, so chill that you may never even know when I have a test coming up because I don’t complain about it (see Real Tip #2) because I’m too busy chillin’ like a villain.
I know many people are not as chill as I am, which is totally A-OK. I get it. We have different priorities, we have different experiences, and we have different philosophies. I can’t really help others survive midterm season because it hits each of us at varying intensities and because we all have our own ways of managing time/stress/happiness. But what I do feel justified to say is that putting things in perspective is the most helpful skill when going through hard times. Once I have gauged the relative importance of a particular event in the grand scheme of things, I set my chill meter somewhere between “chill” and “supa chill,” and then I go with the flow. I study when I need to study, and I relax when I want to relax. And what am I doing the rest of the time? You guessed it. Chilling* the fuck out.
*Note: this is grad school, people. When I say “chilling,” I don’t mean lounging around in my PJ’s binge-watching shows or aimlessly browsing the internet. I use the word “chill” to mean doing things that I enjoy doing, things that maintain a stress level of zero. For me, these things include working out, cooking, reading, writing, cleaning, doing laundry, making my schedule, shopping, etc. All fun things, all productive things, all chill things.