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Oh no, I'm so stuffed...

With Thanksgiving less than 48 hours away I figured it would be all too appropriate to write a blog concerning how badly I "overstocked my plate" this semester. I am in Walter Library - I just finished two hours worth of physiology reading and am about to dive right into chemistry until the library closes at midnight. Some might consider this a busy night, but it is one of the many previously unknown rituals that I have suddenly become accustomed to this year. If only you knew. . .

The semester started with a bang and I immediately fell flat on my face academically. I was busy with waterski tournaments and meetings, hanging out with my roommates in our "new" house in Dinkytown, and just readjusting to college life - this year is my first in the past 3 that I have been attending the same school that I ended at last year.

Anyway - to make a long story short, this academic instability is normal for me. I usually start of the semester by doing not performing as well as I should on my first midterms. However, eventually I always hit the ground running and recover by doing extremely well on my next two midterms as well as my finals. This year, though, something strange has happened: I never got my feet under me.

With waterskiing, study abroad paperwork from the Learning Abroad Center (I am going to Ecuador in the spring for a study abroad/public health internship), CLA Ambassador meetings/events, and simply the insane amount of reading and homework that was immediately necessary for all four of my classes, I was stuck.

The week before Halloween I hit a low point. I spent more time in the Bio-Medical Library (Diehl Hall) that week than I spent in my house. Literally. I was living off of energy drinks, incredibly small amounts of sleep, and studying until close (3:00am) each night. By the time Friday--Halloween--rolled around I had become extremely sick. However, because it was Halloween and Homecoming weekend, I felt obligated to have fun; plus, we had a Halloween party at our house so it was difficult to avoid. Nonetheless, by Sunday, I literally could not stand up long enough to brush my teeth. I collapsed twice in the bathroom and seriously contemplated finding one of my roommates to drive me to the ER.

Why am I telling you this? To put it briefly: it's not worth it. I studied that long and so hard for those tests, and I did everything I could on all of my assignments that week and did I get A's? Nope. By the time I took my tests I was so burnt out and had no energy left to put into the exams. I knew all of the information, but my mind immediately became blank when I started filling in answers. You know that overly-full feeling you get when you eat wayyy too much stuffing or mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving? I was feeling that big time.

My point is that one way or the other you'll get through things in life. I learned through my actions that I need sleep. I need to eat. I need a break and to relax. I'm not superhuman but nobody is asking me to be. If you have way too many things on your plate my advice is to eat the things you like the most. Maybe take a bite out of those that you don't like or that you know are good for you (like vegetables, yuck), and if something is on your plate that you passionately don't want and it is making you miserable, then get rid of it.

I'm not advising you to waste food or to drop classes, but just to recognize that there is no good reason in life to be miserable. I've been miserable far too many times to have not learned that whether it be means to an end or not, there is usually not much good associated with misery. As much as college is a time to determine the rest of your academic and professional life, it is also a time to have fun. Don't do what I did. Give yourself a break and you might be pleasantly surprised.

Since that week I have limited my time studying and have become far more efficient while doing so. I'd have to say that the most important life lesson I've learned so far at the U is how to find my balance. I'm still getting there, but I feel like now I know enough about how to avoid the lows. I'm about to clear my plate.

Anyway, enough preaching. Back to chemistry.
This blog was kind of boring and preachy, oh well.

Peace love, and don't eat too much,
Dave

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