The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



A few chill weeks

Karen Langley | Tuesday, November 27, 2007

There’s little about Notre Dame I enjoy more than the return from Thanksgiving break. After an extended weekend filled with good friends, good food and normal sleep cycles, what can beat the disjointed trip back to South Bend, where the coming weeks promise exams, essays and the constant daliy deadline, all under the cold and hopeless November grey.

OK, so the inter-holiday fortnight can be a little rough.

And despite any lingering Irish Catholic reticence, few students are afraid to share their feelings about it.

Students at Notre Dame tend to be fairly discrete about their competition with each other – until the semester is about to end. Then begins a vicious game of one-upsmanship, not over grades or scores but the amount of work and level of stress each courageous student must endure.

Sure, those three 10-page papers and two exams might seem bad, but did you know I have those and a thesis to pull together? My bad, don’t know how I forgot your 13 final exams – I’ve been hearing about them all week.

Let’s ignore that most of us chose the classes and commitments that now bind us. The justice of our seemingly untenable situation aside, the next few weeks will just pass more easily if the better part of our collective conversation is not devoted to telling our friends, siblings, RAs and the dining hall ladies about how many presentations on Proust and articles on Aristotle we’re just about to produce.

I bet you can handle it.

In the meantime, let’s not make the final weeks of this semester worse by dulling down the discourse we now save for study breaks. When someone asks you how you’re doing, resist the temptation to shriek and tear your hair – and don’t even think about listing assignments.

Tell them you’re almost caught up with Grey’s Anatomy, but you’re really looking to get to the extra material for Entourage. Tell them that with Spring Break only 94 days away, you’ve been logging some solid hours at Rolfs. And since everyone else seems so bogged down with term papers – whatever those are – you’re really interested in lending some Honor Code-friendly assistance, so long as it can earn you some extra cash for the tanning salon. At the very least, tell them you’re going to avoid the real stress of the season by hitting the mall pre-Christmas crowds.

Your life during the next two weeks might seem as bleak as a northern Indiana sky, but it’s temporary. Denial could be the first step to a brighter outlook.

So order that extra-large coffee. Pull those all-nighters. However, you do it, get it done. But when you escape the library for a five-minute breather, leave your deadlines, your headlines and your fortnight-from-hell at the door. It will be good for all of us.

As for me, I’ll be working my way down the AFI’s top-100 list, practicing my mile repeats and planning the next road trip. Things are looking pretty busy.