’Tis the season

The transition into autum is a tricky one, as September has a way of lulling me into a false sense of security.

Classes begin but still feel carefree because all those friends you lost to the summer months are bustling around campus once again, offering the ability to reunite everywhere you wander.

Even Stauffer Library feels relatively inviting at first—flipping through the first week’s readings in a crisp new textbook trumps sweating through prep work for an end-of-term research paper. With the sun shining and campus packed by day—and the gargantuan list of possible outings during a seemingly never-ending Frosh Week by night—it’s easy to forget what’s approaching: midterm season.

Suddenly, September living gives way to a visible shift in the emotions running through campus. Stress looms and spirits start to dwindle. The back-to-school bug bites.

The added bonus of the cough-cold-flu-fever everyone seems to have acquired doesn’t help this problem. Hacking and sniffing resonates throughout my classes and, for that matter, wherever I go in Kingston.

I’m not in any place to be prescribing cold medicine—although word on the street is Cold-FX works wonders—but I can share my philosophies regarding trying to get out of the mid-fall funk.

You’re cold, you’re sick, you’re tired and the only thought scarier than surviving this fall’s set of midterms is the December exam schedule lurking just around the corner.

As a fourth-year student embarking on the intimidating task of applying to grad school I, too, feel the pressure from all angles. Though you might feel you have no time (or ability, depending on the status of your flu) to breathe and take a step back, I urge you to take a look at the bigger picture.

In times like these it’s easy to banish yourself to the cold towers of Stauffer in hopes of forcing yourself to work.

But diets of caffeine, Five-Hour Energy and Vitaminwater will only keep you going for so long. Beyond taking a day to refuel, I’ve found the solution to the doldrums just might be finding the time to enjoy yourself.

Some might scoff at this, as if there’s any chance to enjoy one’s time with that abnormal psychology exam tomorrow. But there are 24 hours in our day and I’m willing to wager that if we all took a step back, we’d find there are opportunities to have some fun in the chaos of our mile-long to-do lists.

Whether your idea of fun is a midday jam session with your friends, hitting up a hot yoga class or starting up a game of frisbee golf, the reality is that while a minuscule hour spent away from your books may seem crazy and unproductive at the time, the perspective and release will only help in the long run.

We all know stress is one of the biggest killers out there. Stress makes us sick and being sick makes us stressed. Try to remember, as we enter the work force, masters programs or upper undergrad years, to take everything in stride.

Get out there, find the time and live in balance. Take some deep breaths and realize now that you’ve made it this far, what’s stopping you from slaying the latest obstacle?

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