I had 1 month & 9 days left when I admitted to myself, “I might not make it.” I was no longer exhausted but sleep deprived, so much so that I had broken out in stress bumps, enlarged pores on what used to be a smooth face, & for the first time in my life my immune system grew so weak that I felt the nocturnal effects of medicine wear on my body. But I still had work to do. I was a full-time student, President of an organization performing multiple roles’ positions, Vice President of another organization but actually performing the President’s role including other vacant positions’, leader in my children’s ministry, mentor, & young adult begging for sleep, no more projects, & a social life. I calculated that although unpaid, my work load was equivalent to that of two full-time jobs, not including side activities.
I don’t know why, but for whatever reason the collegiate powers-to-be decided that after only gradually increasing our workloads from Freshman to Junior year, when we all become Seniors any & every project, book, & assignment they could throw on us would be! And don’t screw it up either because… hmmm.. it’s not like your life depends on it! The first full week of December was when I realized that not only did I have a future, but I was going to get some real sleep for the first time in months. Being transparent for a moment, I cried many nights & days, contemplated dropping out, & schemed ways to sleep in just a little bit longer, skip class, but still be able to walk. In spite of the grimmest emotional spin I’ve ever been in, I GOT THROUGH IT.. and here’s how.
- I normally keep to myself on personal matters, but it’s crucial to your mental health to VENT sometimes. I leaned on my mom, best friend, & a couple of other great friends. Just be sure that your confidant system is full of people who don’t have a maturity level of 3 out of 10, who keep it real & don’t just agree with you & understand that there’s a time to give advice & a time to sit back, shut the heck up, & just hear you out.
- Even though I was constantly on the go, I made sure that if I was going to be flooded that I least enjoyed a few waves when I could. Life will be stressful (to different degrees granted) regardless of what you do, so force some FUN into your life. Whenever there was a patch in my day I sat outside with my friends in the vibrant sun or had me time. Sometimes I sat outside in the sun & worked, occasionally with my friends around me. It kept me sane. And surprisingly was my most social year ever (minus freshman year).
- (*WARNING “religious” moment) Make time for GOD in your life, no matter how you feel. If I didn’t have that lifeline, then I would’ve been in a worse condition than I was, & I was in a bad place. If you don’t think you have enough time in your schedule, then in the moments when you’re upset/angry, frustrated, or feel like crying, go to an area by yourself & sit in God’s presence & talk to Him. Or just sit there. I suggest checking out the amazing daily devotional- Jesus Calling. It helped me several years ago to get closer to God in a stressful time in my life.
- It’s commonplace for students to be told to set goals for themselves (e.g. To get in “A” in a specific class). What you’re not told is that when you set goals it’s normally based around ideally, perfect conditions. And when life hits & your plans go awry you may think you’re to blame when you just need to adjust your PERCEPTION of what success looks like based on reality vs. ideal fantasy. So now what was you thought was achievable may just need to be a “stretch goal”. By the Way– Not achieving it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Not all of life’s circumstances can be planned for. And your goal/s may not fit into the reality you encounter. And that’s ok!
I moved back to my hometown & was blessed with the chance to recuperate for a little over a month. I was on fumes, but as clarity was restored it dawned on me that in the busiest season of my life I believe God used it to stretch me in terms of endurance, strength, & belief in myself & Him. I completed a lot of work while sick &/or sleep deprived. And whether you believe in God or not, conditions like these test the strongest & most level-headed of us all. I received a better understanding of my limits. And since everything I was involved in at the time was unavoidable, it stretched my work ethic & abilities & gave this ol’ college woman without a job one heck of a resume!
Share your stories to help others walking in our footsteps. What was your senior year like?