By Kaydee Donohoo
As a junior, I’ve noticed this particular semester has been overwhelming. I’ve seen a lot of my fellow juniors feeling this new pressure as well. That being said, I’ve found that this is a rough semester on everybody.
Interacting with sophomores and with first-years I’ve found that everyone is stressed the heck out this semester. I had my usual sophomore and freshman stresses, but I’m pretty sure it was not nearly as bad as what I’m seeing among students in those grades this year.
Did every Simmons College class suddenly add on more much more work than usual? Of course not. Yet everyone is more worried, overworked, and exhausted than they can ever remember. Yes, Simmons students could likely pull out their schedules and say, “no, really I just have harder classes this semester and have a more demanding job.”
Don’t believe me that the semester is even worse than I’m imagining? Yes, you can point to the stressful things that you’ve been doing. What about the fun things that you’ve stopped doing? Realize how your lack of free time has taken some of the color out of your schedule. Used to write fan fiction? When was the last time you opened up a word doc for fun? When was the last time you watched something without feeling so guilty you didn’t even enjoy it?
Sure, on an individual level we might all be able to trace what we’re doing that’s different. But for this overarching pattern that’s affecting all of us, we need a bigger answer.
My explanation? The election. Oh, sorry, did you think I wasn’t going to write about the election this week? Sadly, I did too.
There is election tension that we are being exposed to whether we realize it or not. Last semester, a perceptive professor mentioned how the election has put a weight in the air, and it’s dragging us down more than we think. That was spring semester, before the official nominees were even declared. It was true then and has only gotten worse.
There is fear, judgement, aggravation, and hostility from those we don’t agree with and those we do. There are constant arguments floating around, even if we don’t participate or need to hear them. They are setting a tone for the country.
The bright side? Well, I could go on and tell you what you’ve been hearing about how the election is almost over, but I won’t go there. As soon as the election is over, there is still going to be stress and drama over who wins. If Clinton wins, we might have to hear from the Trump camp in an uproar that she really didn’t. Then there is certainly going is to be a lot of clamor to get her impeached. Think her scandals will be going away with her in the White House, and you won’t have to hear about them anymore? Think again.
Then if Trump is elected… well let’s not spend too much time thinking about that, but yes, more stress would be ahead of us.
I’d love to tell you it’s going to get better, but at least I can say that it’s going to be different. Eventually there might be less tension because unless there is a true apocalypse ahead, people will get bored. A new scandal may always be there, or an old one quietly coming in with more information. However, there is only so much time left before everyone gets bored of the new coverage. While it’s important to stay up-to-date on current events, and potentially corrupt politics, people will be arguing loudly about these things less. It’ll make staying up-to-date fun again. Your Facebook might even get some dessert pictures back again.
Another thing to help you in this awful election semester is to find joy in what you do again. When you’re busy, all the things you have to do, even those you used to enjoy, seem daunting. Remind yourself, oh wait, I actually love this, when you are writing for a class you were excited to take. Remember that your extracurriculars are your favorite part of the week and not just one more responsibility. It makes your week much easier if you’re happy to be doing what you’re doing. You probably are happy to be doing what you’re doing, you just have to remember that. If there’s a way to shift around a project to capture a subject you enjoy, you’ll thank yourself later.
Sleep. I can’t tell you to sleep, because I know, I know you’ve heard it all the time and there just isn’t time, right? Well, I can still tell you what not to do. Don’t punish yourself by staying up late if you aren’t working. If you need to work, and you are up at odd hours to get something done because chipping away at your sleep is the easiest way to get more time, that’s one thing. However, if it’s late o’clock at night and you are just staring at a blank page, fighting to stay off Tumblr, and slapping your face with energy drink-infused moisturizer to stay awake to get something out of the way? Go to sleep! You aren’t doing the work anyway, and it’ll be so much easier to do later with more rest, even if you’ll have less time.