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Almost there



By now, my friends and family know not to report me missing or legally dead: it’s just the end of the semester. The bears have crawled into their dens for the winter’s rest, and I’ve crawled into a whole lot of regret. “Oh, I was supposed to keep up with the weekly readings?”

“The most wonderful time of the year,” the radio starts chanting tauntingly. You know, the point when you’re actually glad to have failed to meet a commitment because it’s one less thing to stress about. Or when you factor the hours you hope to be awake against how much sleep you need to not die, to try and calculate available work time per project you have to meet deadlines. Of course you do, you’re a student.

Time management is a funny thing. Somehow I still haven’t figured out that if I want to use the full three hours of my allotted reading time, I need to actually start reading. I tend to think instead: great, three hours. I’ll just rearrange my kitchen utensils, organize the fridge, dust the light fixtures; I should make sauerkraut; I haven’t tried knitting before, maybe that’ll bring my mind into alignment with Bourdieu’s. Then I realize that I need at least a five (read: fifteen) minute break between activities if I’m to shift gears, and knuckle down with some essaying. Speaking of gears, I don’t know if I’ve ever changed the oil in my little VW’s gearbox. I should Google what type of oil is recommended, so the next time I’m out and about, I can quickly swing by Crappy Tire and pick some up — for an efficient use of time, of course. Wouldn’t want to stand around the auto parts aisle wasting my time searching oil specifications on my phone. I’m no amateur.

But then, with absolutely no explanation, it’s 3 a.m. on Sunday. (I thought I started dusting on Friday?) They say procrastination can actually be a useful tool. It allows the mind to process information, make creative jumps, before labouring away. I’m going with that.

There was this study done (by me) where all participants (just me) were asked to perform multiple time management tasks. The results were that within a 24-hour time period, I successfully finished 24 hours worth of what I set out to do. Impressive, eh? Except I only set out to do what my pathetic little self desired, rather than all the activities crucial to my success. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. I should just get focused, right?

I wish it was that simple. Between two jobs and full-time school, I’m finding it harder and harder to keep my ship afloat. Appearances and reality differs greatly. It would appear that I’ve exhausted all my time procrastinating hammering out papers; the reality is I’m exhausted from trying to maintain a lifestyle that permits me to go to school and get out sans debt. Weekly readings seem less important than, you know, food, on most days.

Even while eating, I can’t stop thinking: I better get back tsu arbetn before I run into a kappore. (I’ve been unnecessarily reading up on Yiddish, too.)

I know I’m not alone with this one. Seems like most of the conversations I have around campus are laments about the tension between getting work done in time and hitting their GPA goals. You’ll notice a few laments in this edition of The Cascade too. Again, the most wonderful time of year.

I know profs feel it too, when labouring through marking papers and final projects. At least their futures aren’t dependent on the grades.

I’ve started this new meditation technique to help cope, actually. I sit still and imagine myself in late December. The grades I got weren’t what I feared they might be, I start to grow back the hair I lost (though the grey might stay), and I’m comforted by the dry warmth from the fireplace I lie beside, while chugging eggnog.

An alternative fantasy sees a similar scene, except I place my head, with resolve, in the fire. Either way, mid December is near.

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