Can you believe that the first month of 2017 will be over in just a few days? January is always weird; the weeks seem so long but somehow the month just flies by. It acts as our opportunity to get back into the swing of things just in time to spend the short month of February preparing for the inevitable madness that is March. In my mind, the end of January marks the end of winter and the start of the spring season. Sure, it’s not the official change of season, but it’s a change in mindset and the spring mindset can be harmful if you don’t know what to do with it.
In summer, life is good. We’re interning, learning, traveling, hanging, and overall having a good time.
In fall, we’re motivated. We start the school year off right, meet a ton of new people, and always have some holiday to look forward to and keep us going.
In winter, we’re cozy. We spend time with those we love and focus more on self-care despite the ridiculousness that has become the holiday season.
In spring, though, we’re worn out. We’re sick of the cold and of the barren gardens. We try to be productive and scrub clean every aspect of our lives, but it never seems to put us in our best state of mind. It’s long, busy, packed, and stressful.
This spring is threatening. For once, I’m on top of all of my work (granted it’s only been three weeks, but hey, small achievements), but it doesn’t guarantee this semester will turn everything around. I started off at a pretty low point and this semester needs to be a complete 180 from the fall. As I flip over to February in my planner, I can see the storm brewing. I see those deadlines and exams, appropriately written in red, one right after the other, sitting oh-so-close to the now.
It’s terrifying because, contrary to what the hundreds of motivational quotes or inspirational speakers will say, these exams very well may be it. When a final grade is made up of only two or three exams and a final, each one is go time, either make it or break it. Each one is crucial. Each one can draw me closer to fully sunk, tanked, whatever.
I panic about a lot of things; I probably panic about at least four in the short walk to the dining hall for dinner. This period of calm- gray skies, still air, and oddly serene landscape- is always different from all those other times.
I have never been one to lose myself studying. I won’t “live” in the library and I refuse to pull all-nighters. Being able to buckle down has never been my strong suit- it’s one thing to see the storm approaching and another to have the confidence to face it knowing what’s at stake.
I can’t just wing my way through everything anymore and this realization hit me. Hard.
Storms are opportunities to grow, but we never seem to think of them this way. During the storm, life knocks you down. After though, you get back up and forge on.
So what do you do before, when you know there’s something coming, but you aren’t exactly sure what?
What do you do when you see this fork in the road and there are clouds on both sides, but you can’t tell the good from the bad?
What do you do to convince your continual anxiety that the world is not ending?
And what, really, do you do to reach deep within yourself and successfully conquer the storm?