pt 7: finals already?

It’s December already. It’s strange that the first semester of freshman year is almost over. Just two more finals left. Two finals away from freedom, however temporary that may be.

Personally, there’s been a persisting feeling of emptiness lately – in my mind, my actions, my general state of being. It’s become difficult to think about anything besides the studying that needs to be done, but hasn’t yet. There are several days between now and those last finals, but it seems so short. With inaction, they will surely pass without notice. And with finals season comes other typical symptoms. They signal a period of lack of self-care, late nights, high tension, exhaustion, and bad decisions. It’s easy to get caught up with grades, how you match up to your peers, and fear of the future. With people leaving for home already, it is especially strange.

But one of the benefits(?) of going to a university like Harvard is that you will forever be associated with the name. The heavily connoted name. It is for this reason that people often say that your grades don’t matter, and I sorely hope this is true.

If there’s one thing I was hit hard with during this first semester, it is that it is really, really hard to convince yourself to do the things you don’t want to. It is especially hard to do these things long term. When people say take classes you enjoy, do it. Depending on your personal preferences, it can of course be good to take harder classes and challenge yourself, but don’t do a challenge just for the challenge. Do it because you think you’ll gain something from it – a skill, a newfound interest, something. Otherwise, at the end of the semester, you’ll end up with wasted time, opportunities, and a pervading feeling of being burnt out. Another thing that is easy to overlook during your freshman year here is the brilliance of your peers. And I know it should go without saying, but humility is something we all could use more of, no?

Finals also bring about heightened levels of self-interest and diminished compassion. It’s understandable, but not desirable and also combatable. Take a few moments during each interaction to maintain positivity and improve their day. Never forget the impact you have the potential of making on others. A good conversation does much for the soul.

Much like a good reflection.

Back to studying.


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