Running on Fumes

I’ll just take few sentences here to acknowledge the tragedy in Boston. I thought about incorporating it into my post, but I think any comparison of the goings-on in my life to such a horror would surely come across as hollow and possibly offensive. Suffice it to say, I can’t imagine what the runners and their families and friends must be going through for such a thing to happen on a day that, for most, was the culmination of many months of excitement, anticipation and hard work.

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I’m burnt out. I’ve been burnt out for the last two weeks. This happens every semester. I seem to hit a wall about four weeks before the end of classes. It hasn’t helped that we’ve had nothing but gray, gloom and rain for the past two weeks to accompany my burn-out. I’ve attended lectures and taken notes, but I’ve barely cracked a book. We’re in the home stretch before finals and thankfully I don’t have any projects or assignments due between now and then.

This is what it has looked like outside for the last two weeks. There is no malfunction of the image. It's what it looks like – a gray square.

This is what it has looked like out the window for the last two weeks. Don’t worry, the image is displaying correctly. It’s what it looks like – a gray square.

So I’m coasting. Information that I didn’t quite understand during lecture is sitting in my notebooks. I had the greatest of intentions of going home and looking up those topics in my textbooks or online to find greater clarity, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. I don’t want to. I’m like a toddler pouting in the corner, refusing to put on her shoes.

But it’s time. I have two weekends left until finals. Not one to wait until the last minute, I’ll start studying heavily this weekend. I’ve already got plans to head to the coffee shop tonight to get a head start. I’m sure they’re wondering where I’ve been, the baristas who probably roll their eyes when I walk in, knowing I will order the same old thing I always order, peach tea. Or perhaps they’re delighted not to have to fire up the cappuccino machine.

Already I’m dreaming about all the free time I will have when classes are over. I’m mentally filling up the days with reading, catching up on TV shows, spring cleaning, spending time with friends and just relaxing. I know full well that in the scant twelve days that I will have between the end of spring semester and the beginning of summer I will get painfully little done. I will wonder where the time went and when I will ever really get a break (in three years…when I take off my graduation gown, right?).

But nonetheless, the anticipation is always better than the reality, so what’s getting me through these last two weeks is the sweet, rose-colored vision of those twelve days of freedom. And when summer semester does inevitably start, gone will be the mosh-pit feeling of loud, crowded hallways and packed-to-the-gills lecture halls. Summer on campus is quiet and casual. Professors walk around in sandals and socks (say it ain’t so!) and talk to us as individual people rather than an undulating mass of faces in stadium seating. Classes are small, the sun is out, people are generally happy.

Oh no! Oh yes! It's summer in the engineering building! Photo by Sarah Lee for The Guardian

Oh no! Oh yes! It’s summer in the engineering building!
Photo by Sarah Lee for The Guardian

I haven’t composed any words of wisdom this week or come to any grand conclusions about hard work or confidence or the joy of learning. I’m just happy the sun has finally come out and flowers are pushing through the soil. I’m happy there will soon be beers on the patio and barbeque on the grill. Spring reminds me that time marches on, snow melts and birds return. I may be running on fumes right now, but I’m still moving. I can see the destination just ahead…I think I’ll have just enough momentum to roll in.

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3 thoughts on “Running on Fumes

  1. I wish sandals-and-socks was an okay fashion choice. People who have never tried it don’t understand the comfort level! Hang in there, Blackitay.

  2. Sometimes just making it through another day is accomplishment in itself when we’re out of fuel. As a wise someone once said to me, “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”

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