It’s that time of year again! And unfortunately, I’m not referring to the holidays. I’m talking about finals. The bane of every college student’s existence, and for many, the most stressful time of the semester. Soon, students at Baylor will be dragging themselves to their classrooms at odd times to take the long, comprehensive exams that they’ve been preparing for all semester. I may be exaggerating just a little bit, but finals are a stressful time for most students, and I’ve been known to get a little tense around this time myself.
But there are no finals today. Because today is one of the most precious days in the academic calendar: Dead Day. Every semester right before finals, the school gives students some time off to prepare for the tests. No classes, no meetings, nothing. Just time to relax and study at our leisure. It’s glorious, and I look forward to it every semester. But in a way, everyone knows this peaceful bliss is only temporary. Soon enough, the day will end, and it will be finals time. This truly is the calm before the storm.
In a way, Dead Days are a gift. They’re the school’s way of letting students know that they understand that what’s coming is hard, and they want to give students an opportunity to recuperate and prepare before the hard part comes. Unfortunately, life isn’t always as generous as colleges are in this respect, and we don’t always get a time of calm before the craziness ensues. But when you do, here are a few things to keep in mind. This is what I’m trying to remind of myself of on this Dead Day.
1. The storm is coming.
It’s easy to slip into the trap of denial. Often, when I’m dreading something that’s coming up in the future, I just act like it isn’t going to happen. If I don’t have to worry about it, it can’t hurt me, right? Wrong. Because eventually, the appointed time for whatever it is that I’m dreading is going to come, and if I don’t recognize that and plan for it, I won’t be prepared. Sure, thinking about finals and deadlines is uncomfortable. It may even be daunting. But pretending that things we don’t like aren’t going to come is just irresponsible, and that’s not what these times of rest are for.
2. You can handle it.
On the flipside of that, just because something’s coming that you’re not looking forward to, that doesn’t mean you can’t handle it. The whole point of these times of calm before the storm is to prepare for what’s to come. And the truth is that things like finals aren’t so bad if you just put a little bit of effort into them. Time management is key. Make a reasonable plan to prepare for what’s to come, and stick to it. Because you can handle whatever it is that’s coming your way. You are capable, and if you use the time you’ve been given wisely, you will succeed at whatever it is that’s coming. You just have to keep reminding yourself of that.
3. This time is precious. Don’t waste it.
Finally, the time of calm before the storm is very valuable. You should cherish it. You won’t always be so lucky as to get this special time, so use it to its fullest capacity. Get plenty of rest, prepare for what’s to come, and do something that makes you feel alive and fulfilled. Those are the best uses of your time of calm before the storm. If you’ll take that time seriously and use it wisely, you’ll be ready to handle whatever it is that comes afterwards. And once you conquer that, you’ll be ready to move on to something bigger and better.
For those of you who are college students, enjoy what’s left of your Dead Days, and best of luck with finals. If you’re not in college but this blog post still applies to you, I’m very thankful that you took the time to read it. And if you’ve read this far despite the fact that this subject has nothing to do with your life, thank you. I don’t know why you’re reading this right now, but thank you. This is the calm before the storm, and it’s just as important what you do now as when the storm itself comes. So use your time wisely to rest and prepare, and you’ll be just fine. Have a great week, friends, and I’ll see you next Tuesday!