You wake up early and ascend from beneath the sheets full of optimism and academic fervor. You try to recall an appropriate Latin proverb as the morning sun’s rays bathe your body in a golden radiance. Classes have ended and the finish line is dead ahead. And beyond it? Home? The beach? LDAC? It’s the weekend before finals and the race has ended — just stick out your chest and break the plane. It seems that easy. But your exuberance shields you from the hard truth. This isn’t some victory lap. It’s Gallipoli 1915 and you’re just some grunt in the trench waiting for the whistle. You could make it unscathed, but chances are you’re getting mowed down.
The hardest part of finals week is not the studying. The books aren’t fighting us. Finals week is purely a mental battle we wage against ourselves. And what a clever adversary we prove to be. It’s remarkable how inventive we become when the burden of studying looms over us. We are productive in irrelevant ways so that time doesn’t appear to be wasted. Dorm room seems a little dirty? Not on your watch. Give it a few hours and it’ll be more deceptively immaculate than Richmond on admitted students day. Just a little spring cleaning, right? Another great one is the finals week fitness binge. Let’s be honest, when was the last time you did a legit workout at the gym? Probably that time you thought you’d conjure up some abs the week before spring break. But watch out world, today by the grace of God you’re putting up two-two-five on the bench. Oh, and you’d better bring a few friends along as well. Together you’ll stamp out the fires of guilt with some sweet gains.
One of the most maddening parts about this time of year is that while we are continuously busy, it’s always so damn nice outside. The voice in our head tries to whisk us away from our studies. “Hey, it would be criminal not to take advantage of such a nice day. You’re practically spitting in God’s face! The Earth is depressed, it hates that we spend so much time inside. Each year it makes itself a little warmer to entice us into spending more time outdoors. How could we be so selfish and oblivious? Think of the polar bears, man!”
But none of this will matter to you when you’re stooped over at a table in Boatwright, head in hands with a book you didn’t read sprawled open on the table in front of you. As you stare downward you can practically see the blue-green tide of a distant beach lapping at your toes. For a second you are hopeful, but then you realize it’s just the Adderall kicking in. Or wearing off, you can’t really tell at this point.
I wish you all the best of luck. A great man told me that everyone needs to find a way to relax, or they will eventually crack under the strain. This from a 21-year-old who was intoxicated and smoking a pipe. Push yourself now and the summer will grant you your relaxation. Audentes fortuna iuuat. There’s your Latin proverb.