Just Keep Swimming

If I had to choose one word to describe what I am feeling this week, it would be PRESSURE. Finals week is always a hectic time with papers and exams, but I feel more pressure at the end of this quarter than any other. It’s not because I am swamped with finals to study for either. I was very fortunate this quarter, only having one take-home final to complete. The reason I feel this immense pressure is because I recently realized I have eight weeks to submit a polished final thesis to my committee. I’ve been aware of my timeframe all along, but the reality of the situation hit me like a ton of bricks the other night when I was lying in bed (unable to sleep thinking about my massive to-do list). Not only do I have to finish a 130-page document in the next two months, I have the weight of finding a job hanging on my shoulders.

After June I will no longer have an income, and then six months from June, I will be expected to start paying back student loans. Talk about pressure! I am not writing about this to vent about my problems (although it is oddly therapeutic), I am writing because I know there are many graduate students at the Voinovich School, Ohio University, and across the country that are dealing with these same issues and feeling the weight of work and approaching life-altering decisions.

It is very easy to wallow in self-pity, feeling alone and isolated in the heavy workload you carry, but I am here to tell you that there are many others on the same rollercoaster ride of emotions. Yes, this is a stressful time in our lives, but it is also an exciting time, opening the door to new possibilities.

The next two months are “make or break” and while the tasks ahead seem overwhelming, you can only take one day at a time. Don’t let the pressure overcome you. One of my favorite empowering quotes is by Charles Swindoll and it says, “Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it.” I keep this is mind when the pressure is high and I’m feeling immobilized by fear of failure. So adopt the attitude that you can take on the challenge. Personally, I follow Dori’s philosophy on life when things get tough and “just keep swimming.”

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