A Month of Contradictions

The weirdest thing happened on Sunday. It was suddenly summer. The sun was out, the temperature was high, the magnolia tree outside my window began to open its buds. People were sitting on the lawns eating picnics and pretending to work. It felt like mid-June, not early March.

It was particularly weird because the Sunday before, it snowed. The flakes didn’t settle but it was definitely snow – big, fluffy flakes falling in blizzard formation and making it feel like January.

I think the weather lately has been a metaphor for my life at the moment. Some days I feel like I’m on top of the world. I’m earning my own money, I’m keeping myself and my room in order, I’m getting good marks on my essays and I’m on top of my work. I’m exercising regularly and cooking healthy meals every day.  I’m a successful adult.

Other days it all seems to collapse, just like every sponge cake I’ve ever made. I oversleep and have to sprint to lectures without breakfast. I run out of pound coins for the washing machine. I realise I have only got enough time to either finish the reading, or write the essay, but not both. I arrive at a supervision and discover I haven’t actually understood a single thing. I’ve run out of food. I’m a total failure.

Obviously the reality is somewhere in between. My work ethic isn’t perfect and my time management still could use some work, but on the whole I’m working harder and more efficiently than ever before. I’m getting better marks, but I could get even better ones if I spent a bit more time on my work. I’ve talked about this before and I won’t bore you by going over it again.

The end of term is a funny place to be. The vacation is tantalisingly close – technically, term finishes today, at 5pm. In reality as is always the case term actually has spilled over into the next two or even three days: I have a lecture at 11am tomorrow, a supervision at 12, an essay due on Friday and another three due by the end of the month. The choir is embarking on a five day epic of rehearsals, concerts and recordings of possibly the worst music in the world (save me).

I always seem to run out of steam at this point. The amount of work I’ve got left seems so ridiculously overwhelming that I just have to accept that there is no way I’m going to manage it all. The idiocy of running myself into the ground in order to get an essay written by midnight when I can just get up and write it in the morning seems even more marked when I’ve got nothing particular to do for the next five weeks other than write essays and revise. The irony of having six essays set in a fortnight when I’ve only done three all term is no less marked this time than it was before Christmas.

My focus has shifted. Lent term has lost all interest for me. I’m looking ahead to the dinner party I’m hosting at the weekend, the enormous three-person birthday party at the end of the month, the mammoth task of clearing out my bedroom in my dad’s soon-to-be-sold house, and just seeing my family again. Work, at this point, is something that will come in April – three weeks of solid, concentrated revision capped by a weekend on retreat with the Chapel, before exam term grinds into gear. It doesn’t make sense that I’d have to do things now. Term has finished, hasn’t it?

Well, not quite. And on that note, please excuse me. I have half a dozen cases and a textbook chapter to read before 3.30.


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