Marginalia, Graduate Blog

5 End-of-Semester Tips

Steven Spiel

Calm Down

Calm Down

If you’ve been through school, you know what it’s like to be stressed at the end of the semester. It can seem like there is too much to do and too little time. Fortunately, here in the Music Composition for the Screen MFA program, we don’t deal with any of that. We are perfect students that don’t leave anything until the last minute and mostly feel completely underwhelmed. We actually have to practice finding things that stress us out, just so we can relate with others. Here are some things that have helped us in case you are in a similar situation:

1. Don’t sleep. Ever.

We all know that a well-rested brain functions faster than a fried, sleepless brain. Staying up all night multiple times in a row is a special way I like to start feeling especially nasty and slow down my activity so I feel like I have more I need to do. I know that it takes me twice as long to finish a project if I’ve been up for days; and, because punctuality is a lost art anyway, I like to force myself to be miserable and drag my feet. That way, I can wait to cram it when they demand it.

2. Eat junk food.

With all that energy drained from lack of sleep, I like to top it off by shoving blended garbage into my system so that any time my body tries to do something useful, it has no nutrients to draw from. Plus, we all know that a salad takes less time to prepare than a triple Bacon McCheesburger Deluxe Supreme, so why take the easy route? If you can’t stand the thought of salad, don’t be tempted by Epic Burger’s all-natural, humanely-raised, never-frozen, no-hormone burger. Pass by and get the greasiest, nastiest thing you can find to clog your veins and slow you down.

Epic Burger

Epic Burger

3. Party hardy.

Drag your friends down, too, by inviting them over every night and tempting them with more awful food and booze. Misery loves company, and if you want to be miserable, you have to get used to the idea of dragging others down with you. This is also another great way to waste time and make an environment that is impossible to create in. Turn on the music, throw your living space in disarray, bring out the booze, and forget about any responsibilities you have or people depending on you. If you can set your work aside for just long enough to start hosting a party, you’ll be tied up the rest of the night (and maybe even until morning—see #1), and won’t be tempted to get work out to finish it. Then, you’ll be wasted in the morning, find that your motivation is depleted, and you’ll be surprised how long even you can drag your feet.

4. Copy someone else’s work.

Classwork

Classwork

If you’re the type that can’t procrastinate as well as others, there are other ways to infuse your life with stress. For example, there’s nothing like the worry that you’ll get caught plagiarizing. Just copy something down from the internet. Type a question into Google and for the first time in your life, click the “I’m feeling Lucky” button. Copy down the first thing you see, and your chances of getting caught are sure to skyrocket. Also, you can copy off of a classmate’s work. It will make them despise you and you’ll get the extra anxiety wondering if they’re right or not.

5. Imagine a horrible future.

Take a moment to be as irrational as you possibly can. Try to connect your current projects and exams to a series of horrifying events that will ruin your life. If you can see it, you can believe it. This way, you can walk around with a larger load over your shoulders and a dark cloud hovering over you as you start to believe that your entire life is dependent on this one moment. That is the best way to take away your perspective.

I hope this helps you in your search for a more self-consuming, stressful life. You wouldn’t want to be happy and optimistic, especially with finals just around the corner! Just remember that he (or she) who stresses out the most, gets the most misery out of life—and that’s what we all live for, isn’t it?

5 End-of-Semester Tips

If you’ve been through school, you know what it’s like to be stressed at the end of the semester. It can seem like there is too much to do and …

Music Composition for the Screen MFA Steven Spiel, steven.spiel@loop.colum.edu
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

The Graduate Experience