About a week ago, I had the very first midterms of my college career. Indeed, it was an important academic milestone, yet I could find no reason (or time) to celebrate.
I felt completely overwhelmed. My due dates for the midterms for my two Honors classes were in the same 24-hour span, and, those being my two most challenging courses, I thought I was doomed to academically crash and burn. As the clock ticked away and I desperately tried to determine how to best organize my time to tackle both, my mother suggested taking a walk.
A walk?! In the midst of this educational quasi-apocalypse?!
After presenting her with a lengthy argument as to why such an idea was ludicrously counterproductive (and, in the process, wasting even more precious time), she shot back with a short but powerful retort: it’ll clear your head.
It was then that I became cognizant of an overpowering, disoriented feeling, and realized that I wasn’t doing myself any favors by simmering in my frustration in trying to plan the best strategy for preparation. Perhaps completely detaching myself from studying for an hour wouldn’t hurt.
The walk ended up being really wonderful. For the first time this year, I got to take in the beauties of autumn: the bright reds and oranges of leaves; the cool, fresh air; and those wonderful neon-purple clouds that precede a cold rain. I was able to discuss everything stressing me out with my mom, and, with her assistance, worked out an efficient plan for tackling my midterms. I also met a shih tzu puppy named Luigi (who has since become my spirit animal).
As soon as I arrived home, I was able to go about studying and preparing with a fresh perspective. I don’t know if it’s because I was able to talk things out, or because I got my blood pumping with a few up-hill climbs, but I felt super efficient that evening. Had I not taken the time to get out of the house, I very well might have experienced burnout or utter panic and performed poorly on my midterms.
Sometimes the best we can do for ourselves when presented with a challenge is to step back for a bit to detox our minds from what’s frustrating us. It may seem like wasted time that could go towards cramming, writing, or whatever needs to be done, but an hour away from work can make for an especially productive hour later.
From here on out, I’ve resolved to treat any of my school-related woes with walks. Indeed, it may take a while to make it a solid habit since the temptation of working for extended periods of times will always be there. Nevertheless, as I experienced a mild case of writer’s block in writing this essay, a stroll around my local art museum helped— further proof of the remedy’s effectiveness.
Ultimately, I performed well on my midterms. Unfortunately, winter is just around the corner, so I’ll have to start thinking of an alternative for colder months. In the meantime, however, I’ll vow to never underestimate the academic value of a brisk walk again.
- “Tips for Top-Notch Writing” by Nadya Ellerhorst - April 8, 2021
- “Language Learning and Overcoming Burnout” by Clara Kinken - April 1, 2021
- “Derailing the Burnout Express” by Lauren Rasmussen - March 18, 2021