The end of the spring semester is truly bittersweet. On one hand, you are so close to being done. No more sitting through 8 a.m.s and lectures that extend for hours, and spending countless nights staring at a blinking cursor. Yay, you! Yet, while one hand is posed high and triumphant in the air, the other is being weighed down by loads and loads of course work. The worst part is, your brain is already in summer vacation mode, and you have zero motivation to do any of it. Yet, you still won’t be satisfied with any grade less than an A. This combination of laziness and perfectionism makes for great internal conflict. The end of the semester is both rewarding and trying for tired college students, but for most, it is best described as an uphill battle. The month of April is a time of turmoil and contradicting emotions for any college student. Here are the stages as I would describe them:
I don’t have five assignments due next week or anything. I haven’t started any of them yet, but so what? I can just do it the night before, or the day of, for that matter. I can definitely write a five-page research paper in two hours. Everything is under control. My study habits are exceptional.
Who assigns this much work at the end of the semester? Why do I have to prove that I absorbed this knowledge like this is actually school or something?! Is this a joke? I swear, all of my professors want me to fail. They have it out for me. This is not OK. It’s everyone else’s fault, definitely not my own, though. It’s not like I was procrastinating or anything. Ugh, why does this always happen to me? I'm tired of being the victim.
OK, I’m going to go look at my grades, then I’ll determine how much effort needs to be put into this assignment. Ugh, an 89?! I actually have to put time and energy into this, oh, my God. This is so annoying. Maybe if I suck up to my professor I can get out of it. I wonder how she takes her coffee. I’ve got a whole two weeks to move up an entire grade. I got this.
Oh no...now that I look at everything I have to do, I'm not too sure if I've got this anymore.
Man, why do I always do this to myself? It’s all my fault. I low key, maybe high key, hate me. There’s no way I can possibly get all of this done. I’m going to fail and everyone else is going to do great. I'm always this person. If only I had been more studious a week ago, maybe I wouldn’t be starting an eight-page essay 12 hours before it's due. My life is going nowhere. How am I ever going to have a career if I can’t even finish this assignment? It's all doomed. Why bother? It’s not like I’m ever going to finish, and if I do it’s going to suck. Wait, I know, I'll just get Ben & Jerry's and bask in my sorrow.
Wait a second, if I actually focus, I can get this done. It’s the end of the semester—might as well just power through now and there will be an excess of time to vegetate later. Plus, coffee is always there to offer a helping hand. I don’t necessarily want to do this, but doing it will be worth it and then I won't have to think about it anymore. This will get done, and it will be acceptable to hand in. Next semester, I won’t wait until the last minute to work on things…on second thought, no promises on that one. Anyway, this is college, aka the prime time to be pulling all-nighters.
Once the five stages of the end of the semester grief cycle are completed, you will find yourself reborn. You might still be the worst, but at least there aren't as many things in your life to mess up. Moving out and returning home might actually be upon you after the long, agonizing wait. Congratulations, you are free to resume your role in society as a normal, functioning human being.