Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Feed a cold, starve a fever, _____ midterms

It's been a little crazy here in the Petraverse over the last week or so; all those papers and projects and presentations I was ignoring at the top of the mountain came crashing down on me when I returned. One night early last week, I made a list on a notecard of all the major tasks I had to do--excepting all my ordinary reading assignments, short problem sets, church activities, classes, etc--and posted it on the wall behind my computer, which means that every day I can look at it and count eleven major tasks--papers, presentations, project abstracts--due within fourteen days. Then I can understand where that pesky eye twitch is coming from.

I arrived home late Monday night and noticed the smell of my apartment. Not that it smelled bad, just that the smell, formerly so homey, was foreign to me again. Then I counted and realized I had spent a grand total of eleven hours at my apartment since Friday morning--11 out of 84 isn't bad, right? That mostly means I stayed at the institute building a lot--on Friday, after a late night studying there, I was simply too tired to walk home, and so fell asleep on the floor of the attic upstairs, and got a full night's sleep there, interrupted only when a freshman downstairs asked, very loudly, around 4 AM, "Did anyone see Hannah go home?" On Saturday, I hung around the building until afternoon until a friend came by; I should have stayed there to work more, but I suddenly couldn't resist the idea of lunch, and so was lured away to eat mashed potatoes visit a bookstore sale. On Sunday, I showed up to church with my laptop in tow, planning to write a paper that afternoon. Instead, I wrote a beautiful outline, and then spent several hours with friends, making dinner, eating dinner, and cleaning up dinner. This is me, after years of striving to be The Perfect Student--fun dutifully postponed until after work, every single homework assignment, regardless of how inane or trivial, compulsively done, every paper drafted weeks ahead of time and taken to the teacher for comments--flirting with irresponsibility. Or, rather, flirting with having a life outside of school. I like it. I'm interested.

Unfortunately, I still must have a life inside of school, and the balance is killing me. Sunday night was the closest I've ever come to pulling an all-nighter. (Can you believe that I got through four years of college taking 18 credits a semester, working two or sometimes three jobs, writing an honors thesis, and trying to have a social life without ever once staying up all night to finish a project? Neither can I.) After dinner, I holed myself up in the attic of the institute building again and started my paper. When I say started, I really mean it: I hadn't even collected the data I was writing on. So I got about an hour and a half of sleep that night, meaning that it wasn't a true all-nighter, but I still feel it should be commemorated in some sort of scrapbook of my life. Just imagine the page: "Baby's First All-Nighter," scripted in a cutesy font, complete with candid photos of the night, from me sprawled across the papasan chair in the corner, sleeping soundly, to me taking an hour-long break to chat with a friend who stopped by around midnight, to me deciding, at 4 am, that I desperately needed to find a video of Tammy Wynette singing "Stand By Your Man," to, finally, me doing a Walk of Shame--9 am Monday morning, walking home, still in my church dress, eager to shower and change and be back to campus for class by 10.

Oh, and top of all this schoolwork craziness of the past week, I did something to my foot while running, meaning that not only can I not run, my main source of relaxation and sanity, I can barely walk, my main source of transportation in all times. (That's another reason I didn't go home on Friday night: just the thought of walking on my foot was unbearable.) So I've been hobbling around town begging rides from all and sundry--including, one memorable evening, from a friend who has a bicycle, not a car--and since the diagnosis, now made official, as of yesterday's doctor visit, is plantar fasciitis, who knows when the limping will end. Or, more importantly, when the running will begin again. I may need to find myself a different sanity-preserver. Drugs, anyone?

But it's all almost over--spring break in two weeks!--and I'm beginning to breathe a bit easier, though that may just be because I'm too tired to hold my breath any longer. And, heck, maybe I'll convince myself to stop flirting with irresponsibility. I think it's time to quit being such a tease and just commit.


Anonymous said...

Can really mention popping off to Boston for the weekend to attend an Obama fundraiser can you?

Petra said...

Whoa, whoa, Anonymous, don't give away the ending yet!

Katya said...

Heh. I like your version of the "Walk of Shame." (Does that make you a shameful procrastinator or just shamefully academic in the first place?)

Lizzie said...

BTW, thank you again for showing me around town--i really enjoyed and appreciated it. And in light of the week following, it was probably something of a sacrifice. So thank you. (And i'm sorry to say i'm filling in that titular blank in a completely inappropriate, irresponsible way.)

Petra said...


Can't it be both?


It was a pleasure, trust me. And I probably wouldn't have been doing homework anyway, hence the all-nighter. Also, "titular." Tee-hee.