From time to time we all have moments where things just don’t feel right.

Whether it be described as waking up on the wrong side of the bed, or, just not really feeling like yourself. The crux of it is you either just woke up, or never went to sleep, and even though every other day of the year you turn the coffee maker off before you the leave the house. This time you did not. Of course the coffee maker exploded, making a mess all over your kitchen.

Oh, and now your phone’s blowing up because all your roommates are mortified by this mess. There is a life lesson being taught in your guys’ group chat about turning the coffee machine off. These days happen. At this point, you know being twenty years old and all. These days are not news to me. They’re almost just a part of me.

Needless to say, the ‘I am a mess’ sort of bad day is something I am almost comfortable with. But recently, I have been having a different kind of off day. Just to clarify, by recently, I mean it happens once a quarter, every quarter. And by ‘different kind of off-day,' I really just mean an entirely off week.

I am a student, abiding by the quarter system, trying to get into graduate school.

And the quarterly off-week I have been getting has been during finals week. Granted, this is no surprise. With my luck I am surprised the haze does not hit me during midterms too. Yet and strangely enough, I have noticed this off-ness is particular to finals week.

I start to cue into my off-week with my body realizing that finals week is coming. Which usually is before I even do. From being awake — to having the strangest cravings at 2 a.m. Forgetting what it feels like to be rested and feeling mountains of stress in my shoulders is an accurate way to think about it. There are no active thoughts on my mind. Just a strong sense of urgency and an extremely tense body. Accommodated with sometimes, nothing yet to do.

It’s almost just subconscious stress.

The dead giveaway that I have reached the full swing of my off-week is a strong dissatisfaction for essentially everything I try to do.

At the end of a day, that probably consisted of 13 hours of running around and studying. It feels like I have done nothing. If I am not done, it feels like I have barely tried. This is probably the hallmark of what I am calling my ‘off-week’. I spend hours (and I really mean HOURS) writing the same paper. Hell, I sometimes spend hours writing the same paragraph.

Despite all the other things I have to do, I cannot seem to move on to doing something else. Because I still feel like the paper, or paragraph, is not perfect.

I have gotten a lot better at removing myself from these situations. They are toxic. But I am not great at it. It is hard when you reach a point of stress where you are so irrational. You are letting your own idea of your worth get caught up in a paragraph.

These are off weeks because I know that I am not perfect.

Something has got to be off if my mind’s under the impression that I can reach the unattainable, which is perfection.

I can’t.

I know I can’t.

And I also know, that I get a whole lot closer to producing I take to be flawless work, when I am not at the same time of writing, holding myself to impossible standards.