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When the Going Gets Tough


Anne Walker

In the first meeting we had during on move-in day, the Deans of the College (Arts and Science for me, but I’m sure every dean said it) forewarned us, “There will be a week when everything seems to be happening all at once.” They mentioned tests, quizzes, papers, meetings and other events that will likely all converge at some point in the semester.

And of course, naïve me sat in my seat in Langford Auditorium smirking. This smug version of myself was thinking about how that would be rough, but she was also assuming that somehow that wouldn’t apply to her. I’m still not quite sure what made me think this. Maybe it’s because my classes are relatively random and spread out across several disciplines; maybe it’s because I’m a freshman and thus assumed it would be easy. Maybe some insane part of me imagined that my professors had collaborated when planning their syllabi.

My schedule this semester: Anthropology, Organic Chem, Calculus, and my freshman seminar in Philosophy.

And six weeks later I concede. Apparently my professors forgot to schedule this meeting of the minds. Who would have guessed it, but the Deans were right. This is my first week that really feels like maybe my professors got together to plan all of the major assignments for one week. So how am I coping with this gauntlet of a week?

  1. I’m making lists. My family mocks me for my lists and schedules, possibly because I write them on post-its and notecards rather than in my phone or in a planner. But they are saving my life. I can schedule in my work, activities, classes and free time (though that seems to be an extravagance at this point…) easily AND carry my plan around in my pocket and check things off when I’m done. Best of both worlds.
  2. I’m caffeinating. Sorry, but I’m going to be candid. I am drinking a solid amount of coffee every day. Maybe this doesn’t help, but it makes me happy and I have convinced myself that it does help.
  3. I’m motivating myself. Sure, the good grades and future success should be motivation enough. But when it comes down to deciding between an extra hour of sleep and an hour of homework, I sometimes need a little more incentive. So since my Friday schedule is relatively light and after my storm of work, I am pouring my heart and soul into studying now so that I can enjoy the season premiere of Grey’s Anatomy on Thursday night. It’s a two-hour miracle motivator, the light at the end of my metaphorical tunnel of work.
  4. I’m sleeping. I’m not napping or even sleeping as much as I might like to, but I am sleeping enough, as in at least 7 hours per night. So I think I’m doing pretty well. And when I get overwhelmed, I take a quick break.
  5. I’m just doing it. [Thank you, Nike.] I have already learned that it is not going to be super easy or simple, but it is do-able. I’m learning a lot, and I know it will all be worth it, especially when I’m sitting in my friend’s room watching Grey’s Anatomy on Thursday night.

Studying chem via post-its... the essence of my week.

Anchor down, y’all.

PS- Just a fun fact, Vanderbilt is being featured on abc’s Nashville tonight, so I’m super excited. I loved the show before I decided to go to Vanderbilt, and now I get to live it. Basically, Connie Britton and I are best friends now.*

* Slight exaggeration.


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