This semester, all of my classes are independent studies or internships. That’s right, I’m not sitting in a physical classroom at any point during this semester. This might seem like the dream, but I have quickly realized that it takes more work than a regular class-based schedule. I am helping create a start-up company, I’m Financial Chair for a TEDx event, and I have an internship through the Student Communications Department here on campus. I’m going to break down my experience so far into stages. I’m not quite sure, if they are stages of grieving or happiness; probably both.
Stage 1: The Unintentional J-Term Semester
When you have ongoing projects like a start-up or a TEDx event as your Spring semester classes, you end up working your entire J-Term (the swing semester between fall and spring). I even received messages and emails on Christmas Eve.
Stage 2: The Desire to Actually Enjoy Your Christmas Vacation
I tried to enjoy my winter vacation as best I could. I did get a fair amount of relaxation in, but mostly I was in a state of abject horror at the amount of work I had in front of me. I was incredibly excited at the same time to be involved in such fascinating and massive projects, but also intimidated. While I was eating Christmas dinner, my work was never far from my mind.
Stage 3: Stuck in the Snow
I had a week of complete emotional and work inertia. It was accompanied by a lot of snow, which relegated me to home. I prefer to work from a library, school or a coffee shop. This increased the level of unproductivity. This stage is over. That’s good.
Stage 4: 11th Hour
I realized just how close some of these deadlines are and knew that it was time to put my nose to the grindstone. Thanks to considerable support from my colleagues, I got my head back in the game, and started working as hard as I am capable of working.
Stage 5: The Future
With this forward momentum, I feel confident about this semester. I have to keep in mind that it is only the second week of school as I write this, and I have to have some compassion with my progress moving forward. There’s a lot to get done, and I know that I can do it, and that, ultimately, is a good feeling.