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Care for your engine

| Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Today one of my professors compared my body to an engine.

This was not in a my body-is-too-hot-to-touch or my body-is-smokin’ way because if you looked at me, we all know she would have been lying.

Rather, she told me this in a concerned manner after I had survived a 37-hour, snack-food, coffee-fueled, unshowered sleepless stretch trying to finish my thesis draft, while still completing my class readings and attending classes (I know, I am superman and you don’t care).

Anyways, she told me that living life on a deadline will catch up to me eventually and my engine will sputter out, and die.

She laughed at this because she understands the life of college students, as she has assigned plenty of papers and set just as many deadlines. She laughed even more because she knows that I am a student journalist who hopes to make a career meeting deadlines and not delivering pizzas.

As she gathered herself from laughing at the joke that is my life, her only after-college advice was “good luck.”

I like deadlines. I often feel like I would never get anything done if I didn’t have the pressure of the chilling presence and weight of a deadline spector looming over my shoulder. Though helpful, deadlines can be, well, deathly. There is a fine line between the value deadlines provide us and the all-consuming stress they cause us.

I also like the thrill of finishing something on deadline and feeling the sense of success and relief immediately after. I would have felt something after I sent in my thesis, but the tingling caffeine sensation was too strong. I felt accomplished the next morning after I had gotten some sleep, but it was only a momentary breather before I thought about next week’s deadlines.

It may be too dramatic to say deadlines are deathly, but we all have to deal with them. No matter what we do there will be more deadlines after college. Projects at work to complete for those of you with jobs, taxes to finish for those with or without money and setting fantasy football lineups for those who think they will win it this year.

Now in the trance-like residual mess of not having slept for 37 hours, I am not saying that we need to get rid of deadlines all-together; otherwise, nothing would ever get done.

I am just saying we can handle deadlines, and more importantly ourselves, better.

Sometimes it seems like the stress of deadlines is going to give us aneurysms and ulcers and mono, but we need to not let it. If something is that important, get it done sooner. If it is not that important, don’t allow the deadline to build into a giant soul-crushing monster.

I understand we all have classes and extracurriculars and social lives, but we have to remember we need to take care of our bodies like an engine. Especially as final week approaches, remember to take a moment to fuel up with some actual food, get some rest not sitting up and above all else, breathe.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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