Friends, the chaos has hit.

Every semester, I tell myself that I will be poised, calm and fully prepared for midterms when they hit. Unfortunately, every year I am never as put together as I plan to be. This past few weeks have proven to me exactly how important it is to prioritize, map out a game plan, and keep calm in the midst of the chaos

We all know the drill for when times get crazy. We wake up early to get a jump-start on work, put off that trip to the movies and organize homework parties to maintain our sanity. These are all wonderful tactics, but sometimes a bit more is needed to keep stress at bay.

There was a point last week where I found myself nearly out of my mind with fatigue, stress over deadlines and a desire to do well in everything that I was doing. Not only did I have my midterm exams, papers and presentations come along, I also had new job and small group commitments, group projects, people to keep up with, and budgeting worries to occupy my mind. I came to a point where I did not feel on top of things as I was hoping I could have been, and I began to lose sight of the bigger picture. I focused on the grand, looming mass of all that I had to do, and eventually came to the point where I realized once again that I do not always have it all together. This humbling experience came to remind me again of the importance of a broader focus.

While I will admit to being worn out after the bulk of my midterms, I remembered the ever-true fact that it is okay not to be perfectly composed at all times. As much as I would love to be Super Student, I know that I have to remember my own mortality. School is a challenge – it is supposed to be. I am here to stretch myself and soak in all that I learn, and midterms are just a way of showcasing that. When I find that I have a difficult time keeping up with everything, I remember that there is beauty in the challenge. If this were not difficult in some way, I would not be learning to the fullest extent.

While the challenge is certainly not the most easy-going and fun element of life, it was easily combatted by the joy that can be found in the simple things. Yes, I was stressed and had a lot to tackle, but in the midst of this, I still had access to coffee (it’s a blessing, people). My best friends are also just a short walk or a phone call away. Immense pleasure is found in shared experiences, as we are all in the same boat, and we know that we can laugh in spite of ourselves through it all. We shared the concerns and the fatigue, but we also enjoyed the adrenaline rush that comes from finishing and assignment and knowing that you gave it your all. We also greatly enjoyed the post-midterms celebration – a quiet movie night with loose-leaf tea followed by an early bedtime.

Life has thankfully slowed down a bit for me now, as these things go. I have to say that I am SO looking forward to a week at home for Spring Break, where there will be family, cats, books and no deadlines. Even though I prefer this leisure to the chaos I just experienced, I find reason to be sincerely thankful for it. Business puts everything into perspective, reminding me of the privilege to learn, the love of a challenge, and the stories that I will get to share years down the line. And now I’m off to board a plane to Northern California, grab a book and a mug, cuddle my cat, and sleep soundly. Friends, enjoy your break.