Friends, this past week I had my first encounter with an acquaintance of mine who is feared by many and known widely as “Zombie Aubrey.” This figure emerges when I have neglected sleep, have not had an adequate amount of strong coffee and have spent entirely too much time buried in a textbook or glued to a screen. Think Jekyll and Hyde, or a less green Incredible Hulk, and that should give you an accurate picture of what happens to me when conditions are less than ideal.

Right about this time each semester of my college career, I have seen the dangers of wearing oneself thin and am reminded of three very important things:

  1. Sleep
  2. Leisure
  3. Community

By this time, I know I am not alone when I say that the homework has caught up to speed while many of us may still be fighting off the last traces of Summer Brain. I find that many of us begin to find the need to prioritize. I have discovered that my junior year has brought several classes that are less than easy, and I have decided to refer back to my tried and true methods that keep me functioning like a normal human being and keep the Zombie at bay.

I first have to emphasize the importance of rest. Granted, a large part of college life includes staying up ridiculously late, and this is a wonderful part of the experience. However, too many sleepless nights can be detrimental to functioning like a normal human being. Please, dear Readers, do not do this to yourselves. While you will have a lot of work to balance with fun, schedule your time so that you are not forced to get stingy with sleep. Sleep is very, very important. Not only does it allow you to continue to function normally, it also keeps you healthy and able to tackle your assignments with vigor.

As you strive to remain rested, add a healthy amount of leisure time to sleep. Find something that you love and make time for it, whether that is heading to the Rec Center to climb the rock wall, reading a book purely for fun, or catching up on Doctor Who. Always make time to unwind, if even for a moment, as it’s amazing what a few simple pleasures can do to enliven a person.

Accountability is also imperative to keeping oneself sane when things get hectic. Whenever I get the chance, I try to steal a moment to have a meal or quick cup of coffee with a friend to remain connected and talk through life. I am blessed to have friends at CBU who are, truly, saints. They are available to pray with me, laugh hysterically to ward off stress, or to simply talk about whatever might be on the mind. Taking moments to commune with close friends is the surest way to remain positive, stay on track with life, and remember what is most important to you.

While the semester gathers speed, don’t panic. You can avoid becoming zombie-esque. Just remember that this is a season, and we will ultimately learn so much from it all. Until next time, safe sailing everyone!