It’s that time of the semester when freak-outs are in full tilt and the endless sea of homework has reached high tide. Distractions become all the more deadly, those hours spent on BuzzFeed really start to hurt and coinciding paper due dates wipe the smile off your face faster than a four-year-old on a sugar high can clear an Etch A Sketch.
The temptation to barricade yourself in your study room of choice swirls around in your mind and who could ever dissuade you from doing just that during these tumultuous times? You’re here to learn and make the grades, gosh darn it! It’s your sworn duty to slug through that homework and rock the exams you studied all night for. Anyone who isn’t as motivated as you can step aside and watch you kick this spring semester in its hypothetical rear end. You’re unstoppable.
But rampant and frequent assignments aren’t the only things happening during this busy month of April. Splashes of blue and pink—remnants of the highly successful Etown Color Classic this past weekend—line the Etown roadsides. Last weekend, groups of students, alumni, faculty and staff planted trees, cleaned up trash and worked to make Elizabethtown College a little more beautiful on PRIDE Day.
Two of the College’s a cappella groups, Melica and Vocalign, filled Leffler Chapel and Performance Center with their award-winning voices only a week after competing in the semifinal round of ICCAs. Athletes from all different sports teams fought their hardest, rain or shine, to bring recognition to our school. Blue Jays gathered in the KAV and raised $2,000 during the fifth annual “One Elle of a Night” charity event, which was started by an Etown alumna.
Homework is stressful and ever-present right now, but there’s a lot more going on at Etown than writing papers and cramming for tests. Students with different talents and skill-sets are setting time aside in their schedules to invest themselves in things they are passionate about.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being passionate about studying. Honestly, there ought to be more college students who care about hitting the books and investing the majority of their time into schoolwork. College offers a tremendous number of opportunities to engage in and get sucked into—anyone who can resist those temptations and remain diligent deserves some sort of recognition.
If you’re tired of lonely nights in the library, accept the fact that your commitment to studying is entirely your choice. No one is making you work. And if you’re one of those people with a number of passions outside of the classroom, try not to be disappointed if you find yourself outperformed on an exam. To be blunt, you probably had it coming. The people who commit the majority of their time to studying, quite frankly, deserve to do better than you.
But my heart goes out to the students who sacrifice their study time to do what they care about. If you’ve read this far and think this sounds like you, then you’ve earned my respect. To the performers, singers, senators, athletes and anyone I may have missed, you’re just as awesome as the star students. You’re accumulating far better things than letter grades—you’re gaining experiences and memories that you can only make while you’re in college. There’s something to be said about that. Just remember that your degree is the ultimate goal of college and you’ll have to study at some point, whether you like it or not.
So if you studied the whole weekend non-stop and rock your exam this week, congratulations. But if you feel lonely or bored, understand that you’re missing out on a host of happenings when you commit to that textbook for five hours. If you just put on a fantastic event or performance for the Etown community to enjoy, great job. But if your research paper doesn’t turn out like you wanted it to, recognize that you robbed yourself of more time to work on it.
As I’ve reiterated over and over again, it gets pretty darned busy at this point in the school year; you may have to choose where your loyalties truly lie: inside or outside of the classroom. Acknowledge and take pride in the merits of your personal commitments. Strike a balance as best as you can. And, if nothing else, keep your chin up. If you’re feeling bogged down by this semester, I hope that if you spent your precious time reading my article, it has at least put things in perspective. We owe it to ourselves to find fulfillment in whatever we spend our time doing.
The end is in sight, folks—let’s tough it out together.