The final few weeks of the semester after coming back to Middlebury from Thanksgiving break can be, well, somewhat stressful. It is “crunch time” for everyone. Final papers, lab reports, presentations and tests dot our calendars in the coming days and weeks. The library, with its cubicles, tables and notorious “comfy chairs” already packed, will soon be open 24/7 for exam week. Do not quote me on this, but I’m sure if the dining halls and cafes on campus were to calculate the amount of coffee consumed during these next three weeks, they would find a massive increase of caffeine intake among students.
I’m no coffee drinker, but I generally struggle with the stress of these final weeks like my peers. In years past, I remember asking myself “how will it all get done? Is it even possible that I will be relaxing at home in less than a month?”
This year, though, my mindset has changed slightly from my underclassman worries. Not only do I now know (based on experience) that yes, inevitably it all does get done, but I’ve learned how to keep things in perspective and, more importantly, how to enjoy these final weeks of the semester. The truth is, a lot goes on here even as things wind down! There are final shows, concerts and performances that you don’t want to miss out on; winter sports are officially in full swing, and people flock to the squash courts and hockey rink to catch a match or game. I have gotten emails and invitations from professors and students in classes in a range of departments – from Political Science to Dance to Film and Media Studies – who have been working all semester long on various projects that they will be presenting. Friends make announcements at the end of class inviting their peers to view their thesis work, a play they happen to have written and directed.
Thus, in the midst of all this academic work, the final push of the semester includes so many activities that are worth making time for. Even carving an hour out of your day to go into town for a meal with friends, hit the gym or go to a lecture you want to hear can make all the difference. And, as I just found out, all month long the town of Middlebury will be organizing “Very Merry Middlebury” events, which include sleigh rides, Santa visits, free gift wrapping and 25 cent hot chocolate! Who says “crunch time” can’t be fun?