In just a few weeks, the inevitable is coming: finals. And if there’s one thing everyone associates with finals, it’s stress. But stress isn’t just limited to one week at the end of the semester or college would just be a breeze, right? So I thought I’d go over a few of my “most stressful moments” from my college career so far and how they all ended up fine in the end.
Orientation: Let’s go all the way back to the beginning. I remember being completely fine up until it hit me in the middle of orientation that I was hundreds of miles away from the house I had lived in for almost all my life, about to stay on a campus where I knew no one and barely knew my way around. Luckily, I only had to freak out for about a week. Finishing up orientation and starting my classes meant that I had a set routine that helped me solidify my schedule instead of the rather disorienting “here are the activities we have planned for new freshman today!” Knowing the exact times I could eat, sleep, and relax let me settle down significantly. And then I joined KaPOW Comic Club, which is where I met most of my current friends, so there went my stress about knowing no one!
Course Registration: Specifically, from my freshman year’s second semester when I had to register for my sophomore year fall classes. I was unlucky enough to receive a much later registration time than most freshmen, so by the time I could pick out my courses, they had all been filled and were slowly piling up the waitlist. My entire schedule was yellow from being waitlisted in literally every single course! But patience pays off when registering for classes. Many people change their minds over the next few days, over the summer, and at the beginning of the next semester. Classes with huge waitlists also often expand their class size. So I ended up not having to worry at all, getting into all of my intended courses, even the lecture with over a hundred and fifty people on the waitlist!
Apartment Searching: I’ve talked about my apartment experiences in a few posts in the past. My friends and I wanted to move off campus for our junior and senior years, both to save money and for the experience of paying our own rent, cooking, and being even more independent than living in dorms entails. The problem is that apartments close to campus are snatched up immediately or very pricey. Several seniors advised me to start my apartment searches immediately during my first semester of sophomore year, and the more I looked, the more I realized how right they were. What’s more, apartments are often passed down from seniors to underclassmen friends and aren’t ever officially put on the market, so you can search all you want but might never see half of them. My friends and I searched and searched, visited a few places that ended up being too far or too expensive, and it was two weeks before the start of campus housing selection when we really freaked out. We needed somewhere to live! Our salvation came in the form of a senior I knew from KaPOW who mentioned that she was moving out of a three bedroom apartment, aka the perfect number for my trio of roommates. It was cheap, the landlord even covered all utilities, and it was one of the closest apartments to campus one could find. We visited, looked around, and immediately agreed that we would snatch this one up. The great thing is, now that I have a lease I can renew, I don’t have to worry about housing for senior year.
The Week Before Reading Week: This requires some explanation. There is an official “finals week” after the reading week of no class, and many classes have their finals during this time. So the schedule goes like this: last week of class, reading week, finals week, go home! The thing about art school is that we don’t have finals in the traditional sense. We have final projects. And final projects are always due the last week of class, with our overall final critiques during reading week instead of during finals week. A good number of classes also schedule in-class finals during the last week of class rather than have “official” finals during finals week. Combine the two and you get one stressed out art student who’s trying to cram for several exams and finish 3 projects, all in the same week. Not fun, but somehow with lots of stress-eating snacks, sleep-deprivation, and procrastination on Youtube, I get through this every semester. The perk is that now while other students cram for their finals week, I basically have a free week before I head home to be productive (video games. I play a lot of video games).
So college isn’t all fun and games. It’s school first and foremost, and with school comes necessary work, along with the stress of trying to be an adult for the first time. But I’ve found that no matter how stressed I am in the moment or how much I’m freaking out, I can usually count on the thought that when I look back, I’ll realize that I didn’t need to worry after all, and that everything turned out just fine.