To think that this quarter could have gone as smoothly as it did still surprises me.
I don’t necessarily believe that there needs to be some world where I completely flopped, did poorly in my classes, failed to maintain my friendships, and not be good with time management. For me, that alternate reality stands at odds with what happened because of the people that helped make it what I knew it could be. For as much as I would reflect and take pride in how much I worked to make the most of life, I could only go far because of how much grace and support those around me granted. The slower walks around campus and the city, the willingness with helping get things up and down stairs, the lack of timeliness I would sometimes exhibit, it didn’t matter. Folks just continued to take whatever they could out of their days to help make mine just a little easier.
Winter oftentimes is the worst quarter of the year. It’s the weather, the sun setting at 4:30 PM, and the general fatigue after already having a quarter under our belts. But this one was different. I don’t think the fatigue aspect of previous winters went away; in fact, I’d say I hadn’t been more physically and mentally drained heading into a quarter before. The one aspect of life, though, that wasn’t exercised was my capacity for being a scholar. As much as I was generally frustrated or anxious about getting my own reading pace back, I still believed that somehow, some way, I’d eventually make my way to that old self. What only ended up happening was about as reasonable as one could hope. I was able to thoroughly engage with my readings, but also I got more inspired than I’d been in months to dive back into my own books/articles I’d been saving. There’s something to be said about just being around friends and folks interested in engaging in the same studies as you that can bring out the best in us. For me, getting the chance to actually read and write away from home was enough for me to put up with all of the health challenges along the way. It really felt like home again.
In the moments where I felt burnout, I was instead only feeling more rejuvenated. I’d gotten the chance to finally begin to build the healthy habits that really needed to coincide with my own ambitions. Eating better, sleeping more consistently, cutting back coffee intake (at times), and most of all, really spacing out my work gave…