Tag Archives: exhaustion

Yes, I’ve Been Writing

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Back in the beginning of my Rambler days, I explained that the purpose of this blog was to ensure that I would write a little every day. At the time, I was still wander through the Slough of Classes That Had Very Little To Do With My Major, so I needed to set aside time to write every day to make sure I didn’t lose my touch. That, and I like trying to make people laugh. We’ve all got our hobbies.

Rest assured that I’ve been doing nothing but writing for the past six hours. Two theater reviews for two different classes. One short story revision worth 100 points. Yes. Yes, I’ve been writing. No worries.

Writing, and daydreaming about a year-long, cross-country trip where I live out of a duffel bag for a year while writing about my experiences on the road. Dreams, yes. But stranger things have happened, such as a college student getting a good night’s sleep. Crazy, right?

Wonder of Wonders, Miracle of Miracles

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Something utterly miraculous happened this morning just as I was waking up.

Most mornings I wake up tired. You know the feeling—somewhere between “brain dead” and “hit by a truck.” The alarm rings—or all three of them ring—and we shut them off one by one. Some of us don’t even remember turning the alarm off; our bodies knew better than we did how much sleep we needed. Or what’s worse, we turn off the alarm and then close our eyes for a minute, which turns into two minutes, then ten. During those minutes we’ve dreamt about getting dressed, brushing our teeth, heading to class, and making it to lunch before we realize we’re still in bed. Yes. Usually, that is what my mornings are like.

What’s worse, I used to wake up with an added feeling of weight in my chest. A feeling of foreboding—like depression, but closer to an undefinable anxiety. I know, The Rambler in all her risibility doesn’t seem like the person to struggle with that sort of thing. But I did there, for a while. By the grace of God, and His grace alone, that cloud seems to have passed. But imagine, waking up exhausted and burdened every day for the past few months. Not fun.

Not this morning, though. Not this morning.

The alarm chirped out its little beeping sound, and I was awake. I shut it off and sat up immediately. I bounced—yes bounced—out of bed. Awake. Alive. Enthusiastic. Energized. Rested. I got my coffee. I read the Bible. I prayed. I got dressed, got breakfast—and even when I arrived at my creative writing class, I was still awake. I didn’t feel like I had been hit by a truck. I felt like I had slept for a thousand years and had just seen the first rays of sunshine. I was…I was…

Optimistic.

That, my friends, made for a happy day.

Now, this feeling of euphoria will probably die out by tomorrow morning. Who can say. But I will hold on to the memory of this one little happy day. Maybe, just maybe, it will make the rest of the week a little brighter.

Feeling Spiritual

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In times of extreme duress (read: ten papers due tomorrow and none of them even started), I have a tendency to look backward instead of dwelling on the painful present. And in my reminiscences, I often hear the words of my parents, my wiser friends, and former teachers come echoing back to me from some earlier, happier days.

There have been moments when I knew that if I sat down, I would fall asleep, no matter how much I had to read. Sure enough, I will sit down with my textbook, open to the appropriate page, read a paragraph, and then my eyes will start to shut of their own accord.

Then I remember something one of the wisest of my high school instructors told me and the rest of my intermediate German class. She told me that she had learned from experience that sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is to take a nap.

She made an excellent point. When it comes right down to it, you can try to attempt climbing a mountain of homework on precious little sleep, or you can let yourself sleep for twenty minutes and start climbing then, when you feel at least a little refreshed.

With this in mind, I take off my glasses, lean my head back, and let myself dose until I find I can hold my eyes open again without the help of toothpicks.

Not only do I then feel more awake, but I also feel less grumpy, a perk my roommates appreciate immensely. Sure, I could have plowed through that reading and understood none of it but spared myself twenty minutes. But in the end, those twenty minutes of shut-eye were an investment in my own sanity.

The things you learn in high school are not necessarily the things they put into textbooks.

All of that to say, I decided to be exceptionally spiritual this afternoon. I slept for an hour. Feeling fine.

Too Much

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There is nothing new under the sun. From the beginning of time, mankind has had to face the same nagging problem that we of the 21st century deal with every moment of our lives:

Too much to do. Too little time to do it in.

Not just the obligations of school or work, either. How about life obligations? Like time to go see the Grand Canyon before you die. Or time to have coffee with that friend who you used to be really close to but whose life has gone one way and yours had gone another. Or time to stop and watch a bird as it listens for worms. Or time to watch the sun set on yet another all-too-short day.

Sometimes I wonder if there’s enough time to live in a single lifetime. But that could just be the insomnia talking.

With the schedules that most of us at UU maintain, we students end up spending more time thinking about what we could be doing as opposed to what we are doing. We have more to do than there are hours in the day to do it all. Some of us kill ourselves trying to keep up. Others just give up entirely.

Somehow, no matter what we do, we still end up feeling dry, wrung out, and exhausted.

It’s times like these that I thank the Lord for being my sole source of strength. Because it’s times like these that remind me that I have no strength of my own to rely on.

Meanwhile, I’m writing the president to ask him if there’s any possible way to get a few more hours added on to the day.

 

Make Like a Banana and Split

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If there is any universal battle that students face, it’s the battle to pay attention on Fridays. Whether you’re two, twelve, or twenty-two, the knowledge that the weekend’s sweet freedom is just around the bend is much more tantalizing than any lecture will ever be.

A weekend is a willing suspension of disbelief. We all know that responsibilities and obligations resume on Monday. We acknowledge it, albeit grudgingly, and most of us try to plan accordingly. But on Friday afternoons, it feels as though Monday is decades away. There’s a euphoric high that accompanies the last class of the day, knowing that you made it through another hair-greying week of your life. And you’re still standing.

As a result, people go a little crazy. The dorms become Caffeineville on Friday nights, everybody so tired they’re hyper. The result? On my hall, we get random singsperations, pranks, and a lot of hooting and hollering. Then, somewhere around midnight, we all crawl into bed, defeated. Most of us will stay there for the next twelve hours.

Some say we crash because of the exhaustion of the week. I say that we’re just worn out from having split attention all Friday long.

Life is but a Dream

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There’s Eastern Time, Central Time, Mediterranean Time…and then there’s Undisclosed University Time.

At work last night I actually wished someone a happy Monday. It was Wednesday yesterday. At least I hope it was. As far as I know, this morning could have been last night, considering how awake I felt.

I also keep thinking that today is Friday. It had better not be Friday today, because I’m not ready for it.

And I know I’m not the only one who’s stuck in a bubble where time stands still. No one I talk to can tell me what day it is. We’ve all lost count. It’s today. That’s all we can tell you. We ceased to care about time in increments bigger than 50 minutes weeks ago. Whole hours are things of the past. Days are only daydreams. Life is but a dream. We honestly can’t tell you the significance of a Thursday anymore.

But goodness knows we all know what a weekend is.

Who Wrote That?

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After six months of blogging a post every day, you accumulate a lot of articles. I’m getting to the point where when people told my how much they liked that post about college, writing, humor, shoes, boys, girls, or skinny people, I ask them, “Which one?”

As I looked at my site stats today, I noticed that people were reading posts from many months ago. Posts I didn’t recognize. “Nice Hooves”? What was that about? Who wrote that? Wait, I wrote that?

In the honeymoon days of my blogging experience, my posts were like my children. I watched over them, watched their growth as they acquired more and more attention. I knew them all by name and subject matter. Mama Rambler and her flock of posts.

But now I can’t tell one from the other. I can’t remember writing half of them. I know I write a lot about college. And stress. And about feeling exhausted.

Then I remember why I can’t remember.

I wish I had more quality time in the evenings to write things of better quality. Actual essays, maybe, instead of a long string of “I’m tired and I’m kvetching about it” articles. Or, in this case, kvetching about kvetching.

How low can you go?

But people keep telling me how much my blog makes them laugh. That was my goal from the beginning. Make people laugh. And if humorous griping does the trick, then humorous, facetious, self-debasing griping is what I’ll do.

Whatever it takes, I guess.

If only I could remember what I’ve kvetched about before…

A College Dictionary

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Bliss noun: discovering that you read ahead last week and you suddenly have thirty minutes to take a nap.

After the second Monday of the semester, more than one of my comrades was feeling the pressure. The most frequently-used phrase of the past week was “it feels like we’ve been here forever.” It’s true. It does feel like we’ve been here forever. Sad part is—we’ve only just begun.

But every once in a while, we get a little blessing from heaven in the guise of our own oversight. I my case, I misread the syllabus and got more reading done last week than I needed to do. Hence the hour that I had allotted to the reading that I thought I needed to do for tonight I got to devote to a much-needed nap before work at 8:15.

Life is good.

Stop the Week Please, I’d Like to Get Off

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And so, gasping for air and aching at every joint, the students of Undisclosed University arrive at the end of their first full week of classes.

So far I’ve given three back rubs, observed and participated in a few meltdowns, awakened sleep-deprived on three of the four days of this week, increased my caffeine dependency, and heard one poor girl crying in the shower.

Such is the nature of the beast we call College.

However, comma, morale is high as we face a weekend that promises a slower pace and fewer waking hours. Most of us will take time to kick back, pray a little or a lot, and recharge our batteries for the coming week.

But for now, we are just hoping to get through the rigors of Friday without checking out and changing out our normal brains for our weekend ones.

Sniff, Sniff, Wonder

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I’ve heard it said that women, especially the pregnant ones, have a highly sensitive sense of smell. Not only that, but specific odors trigger sometimes extreme emotional reactions.

I’m not just talking about smelling smoke in the house and panicking because of a fire. I’m referring to girls getting sad or angry when they catch a whiff of a brand of cologne used by their ex-boyfriend. Some women burst into tears at the smell of baby powder. Others are emotionally attached to unusual odors like pine needles, wet dog, new shoes, mulled cider.

There was a friend of mine who used to carry around one of her boyfriend’s sweatshirts to bury her face in when she was stressed. She adored his cologne, she said. She offered me a whiff once. Not bad, I thought, but hardly worth inhaling the thing like a druggie.

This female fascination with smell didn’t really make much sense to me until just recently. Beforehand, I rolled my eyes at girls with ten bottles of perfume on their dressers and three or four different scented candles in the same room. I found it hard to have respect for someone who would spend their allowance money on cotton candy body spray.

But then my parents got me something marvelous for Christmas: a bottle of Pumpkin Pie perfume.

It’s one of my family’s many inside jokes. Many moons ago my father read me an article that reported on a survey that asked men what their favorite “girl smell” was. The most popular scent? Not the floral and fruity scents that most women love, but the spicy scent of pumpkin pie. Apparently there’s a chemical in pumpkins that triggers some kind of hormonal reaction. [Figures it would be a food smell. Insert “way-to-the-heart-is-through-the-stomach” jokes here.] Dad had joked about getting me a bottle of pumpkin perfume ever since, and I’ll admit, I had wanted to see what it smelled like.

So they bought me a bottle. Frankly, I don’t care what guys or anyone else thinks about how I smell, so long as they aren’t blown away by too much or too little of a good thing, odor-wise. I have never been a perfume person. I’d wear a little for special occasions, and everything I owned was given to me—I never bought any for myself. I never understood the world’s fixation with smelling like anything other than just clean.

But I love this perfume. Capital L-O-V-E Love. Today I was running on a meager three hours of sleep due to some form of school-induced insomnia. Needless to say, I was tuckered out today. But every time I smelled the pumpkin pie on my hands or on my clothes, I felt a little burst of happy blast through my psyche. Suddenly I found myself believing that because I smell good, I must look good and feel good, too–never mind the dark circles under my eyes and feeling like I’d been hit by a truck.

So to all those girls in junior high and high school who I silently ridiculed—I’m sorry. I get it now. I’ve been converted by Demeter Fragrance Library’s eau du Pumpkin Pie.

Which Way to Mordor, Gandalf? Right or Left?

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I miss high school. How’s that for an opening sentence?

High school was an adventure. I began the experience as naïve as a little female Frodo Baggins who vowed to take the ring to Mordor. By the end of our senior year, my friends and I sat around a table in our favorite hangout and lifted our glasses in a silent little cheer, knowing we’d been there and back again. We’d done it. Ring gone, Sauron dead, diplomas acquired. Boom, baby.

We had our scars, but we felt like we’d accomplished something—something we’d never forget. It was a journey, an adventure, and escapade through adolescence that I’d pay good money to live through again. That’s Anytown Academy for you, folks.

I like being a college student. Really. I do.

But I would like it a little bit more if it didn’t feel like I was going to Mordor and back every. Stinkin’. Semester. Really, people, how hard does getting an education have to be?

My friends are scattered to the four winds, one in Wisconsin, and the others might as well be there too, considering how much I get to see them. I feel like a small, insignificant and rather lonely hobbit wandering in a wide, unfriendly world, armed with nothing but my laptop and my wits—unsure of exactly where I’m going or what I’ll do when I get there.

You see, in high school we all had one goal: get a diploma so you can go to college. It was assumed that we could wait to decide what we’d do with our lives once we got to college, so we could all just focus on being teenagers trying to find our feet and survive high school. All we had to worry about was getting good enough grades to graduate. Pretty straightforward, right?

Well, now we’re in college. And suddenly we have to figure out what we’re going to do with all of that future we’ve been handed. As the elves at the Council of Elrond told me, choose the right path through Cirith Ungol, and everything will be fine. Choose the wrong path in the maze, and you’re doomed to a life of misery.

No pressure.

Once upon a time, graduation only brought the question “what college will you go to?” After graduating from college, it’s where do you go? What will you do? Where will you do it? Who will you do it with? What job will you try for to make sure that you can do it?

People ask me all these questions and all I can do is throw up my hands in despair and tell them that all I want is to live someplace quiet where I can finish my Book. Preferably with a few cats.

All that to say: I’m going back to school tomorrow. I’m moving back into the dorms, I’m buying my textbooks, and I’m settling in to my fourth semester at Undisclosed University. And I’m looking back at my high school years and wondering which way did they go? And why can’t they come back? I’ll say it again: I miss high school, and I wish I could go back.

“So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

Thanks Gandalf. I needed a little sanity.

Six Days

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I hate to belabor a point. But I’m going to anyway.

Six days until I taste sweet freedom. Six days. The same number of days it took God to make the world. The projects are turned in, robot included, and all that remains is to study for my six cumulative exams.

Oh, yeah. Cumulative exams. I love the smell of certain doom in the morning.

I and all the other students at UU are beginning to wonder just how much more we can take. We’re soul weary, body weary, mind weary, heart weary. I know that’s how I feel. And it’s starting to show. It’s gotten to that point in the semester where I wake up, look in the mirror, and think to myself, “Oh, so that’s what death warmed over looks like.” Some people just get little dark circles under their eyes—I have a full set of black leather luggage under each eye.

I’ve climbed Everest. Now they’ve dropped the Matterhorn in front of me and said “Have fun. Ha ha.”

Like the legendary Little Engine that Could, I huff, chuff, chuff away, chanting “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” Say a little prayer, get to work. Back to Plato’s Cave I go.

Ah, well. At least Grooveshark is cooperating today.

Awake

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For the past week I have been battling a frustrating state of drowsiness that wouldn’t lift. I couldn’t figure out why, exactly—I was getting more sleep than usual, eating healthily, avoiding dangerous levels of caffeine. Yet I was dozing off in almost every class, no matter what time of day, no matter how interesting the class. I could not stay awake, and found that I simply did not have the energy to do anything—anything at all. I took naps. Nothing helped.

Could it be the weather? No, the weather is brisk, bright, and beautiful, just the sort that keeps me awake, alive, and hopeful. I thought perhaps my drowsiness could be due to donating blood last Friday, but that seemed unlikely, since none of my friends that had donated were feeling the same way. I wondered if it could be stress, but my load was fairly light last week, so that couldn’t be it. Good thing it wasn’t, too, otherwise taking the aforementioned naps would’ve been an impossibility.

Then I went home, watched a Nora Ephron film, and went to bed at 11:20. I woke up at 11:55—the following morning.

Twelve and a half hours of sleep. Now I’m so awake that I can hardly keep still. Apparently my body knew I needed more sleep than my mind was willing to admit.

So now I have gone from being too tired to do anything to being too awake to focus on anything.

Such is my life.