First Year Vibes: Giving yourself permission to rest

Anna-Catherine Kueng, Assistant Editor~

Screen Shot 2018-11-07 at 11.43.22 PM

Illustration by Nicole Freewalt

Due to the piling up of research papers, presentations, and final projects, I am sure students are aware that there is less than half of the semester left. I have been warned that November is a month where students start slacking off, and I have heard horror stories of A+ students whose grades dropped following Thanksgiving Break.

However, I am looking forward to a week off from school and I am sure I am not the only one who is counting down the days until break. Thanksgiving Day is always a time where I get to eat whatever I want, visit with my extended family, and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This year, my sister and I are also running in my town’s Turkey Trot 5k, which is something I have wanted to do since my freshman year of high school. I say all of this to prove that most people believe it is okay to relax on a holiday like Thanksgiving, but relaxing at any other time is frowned upon.

As of result of my homework, I have not gotten an adequate amount of sleep for the past few weeks. Some people may assume I am a procrastinator, but I actually am a diligent student and take advantage of any free time that I may have so I can work on upcoming assignments. With everything due in November and December, I feel guilty if I take even small breaks during the day.

Society has ingrained into our minds that a person’s worth is based on his or her productivity and responsibilities. Whether you want to admit it or not, many of us believe we are the center of the universe. I do not mean to suggest that we are all vain, self-absorbed people; in fact, I think many of us have good intentions and care deeply for others. I only want to emphasize that we often expect perfection from ourselves and think that if we cannot attain it, everything will fall apart.

At the beginning of October, I became sick with a viral infection. On the first day I had a fever, I had sat through three classes feeling miserable, but refusing to accept the fact that I was sick. By the second day, I could not get out of bed. I remember sitting at the doctor’s office in tears because I felt as if I missed any of my classes the next day, my professors would be disappointed in me. I did have to miss my classes (and my professors were kind) but even when all I wanted to do was nap, I made flashcards and studied notes instead. As a result of trying to fight my need for sleep, I probably stayed sick longer than I would have been if I had bundled up in my blankets, ate chicken noodle soup, and allowed myself to rest.

I have always struggled with allowing myself to rest, but within the first three months of college, I have learned that sometimes you have to rest. Just as our bodies need sleep to survive, our minds need a break from the craziness of life. At least once a month, I like to go off campus with friends to eat, shop, and just have a change of scenery. Taking a short and planned break from all of your responsibilities is healthy. I find that after a day of rest, I am more ready to tackle my assignments and I have a better attitude about them.

As the end of the semester approaches, remember that you need a balance between work and rest. In no way am I promoting that you should not do your homework or prepare for upcoming assignments. In fact, I think November should be a month where you are determined to finish the semester strong, but you also need to set realistic and achievable goals. When it comes to studying and resting, just remember the aphorism: “all things in moderation.”