It’s that time of year again. The end of the semester. Finals week. So stressful. So tantalizingly close to Christmas and winter break. Yet at the same time feeling so far away.
It’s the time of year when everyone I talk to seems to be burnt-out, tired, frustrated, just making it. The time of year when everyone could use a love letter.
I stumbled across this gem last year, and I read it now and then when I need a pick-me-up. It’s incredibly sweet and deserves to be shared. So put down the textbook and read this.
I’ve been there.
Books piled up in a stack beside you. Nodding off to the glow of the computer screen. Neon strips of highlighter scraped across your forehead, leftover not from a raging highlighter party the night before but rather the all-nighter spent spooning Shakespeare term papers and mind-rattling interpretations of Samuel Beckett’s best works.
Some of you are halfway through. Knees sunk deep in the muds of history power points and audio projects. Stammering in the mirror before you give that final speech in class tomorrow. Still muddling through the differences between el & usted. Nosotros & Vosotros.
Some of you are stocking up on caffeine fixes and 5-Hour Energy drinks before the storm hits. A storm of finals worth 60% of your grade. 12-pagers that will have you crawling into the light of the morning, turning your study guide into a white flag to wave and surrender.
You’ll make it.
I know it. I can promise that there are lights & lanterns & the promise of oh, holier nights at the end of your tunnel. Perhaps it won’t be the grace of a love letter but the grace you’ll gain from the sound of the last book shutting. The sound of the last pages shuffling out from the printer and into your professor’s mailbox.
Remember to breathe. To eat. To sleep, if you can. Curl up on the couch in the campus center if that’s what it takes. Blast Carol of the Bells while you sip a pumpkin spice latter that you so deserve. And, on the nights where 1am comes quicker than shoppers to Best Buy on Black Friday, be the one to text your friends, “Diner. 2am. I’ll drive.”
I still keep that memory.
Unearth it as I do the ugly sweaters that get pulled down from the attic this time of year and pulling off the cobwebs of a time that I didn’t know I’d ever miss. A stack of pancakes. An open laptop. Hot chocolate with whipped cream dribbling from the side. All of us laughing, not knowing at the time that yes, yes, we were going to miss it one day soon.
It’s hard to believe that right now as you struggle to swallow every prefix in the dictionary or every literary term you’ll need to dissect that Emily D. poem tomorrow. But the closeness of friends in one place, the justified seeing of the sun coming up before you close a book and allow your bottom and top lids to mingle with one another again after a solid two weeks of Open & Awake, the 24/7 sweatpants apparel for at least two weeks… you’ll miss it when it is gone.
So pick your chin up from the computer. Stand up and stretch. Take a break to call your friend and see how studying is going. If there is someone beside you, smile… propose a coffee break… treat them.
String up holiday lights in your dorm’s lounge and claim that a study executed at 800 universities across the country proved that the ambiance of the teeny tiny bulbs increased final grades by a whopping 73% percent.
Put out a blanket in the middle of your campus center. Fake candles (cause we all know the real ones are not allowed). Make unneccessary references to Elf quotes throughout the night (Santa?! I know him!). Let Beethoven trickle through the iHome. Take a Target break. Buy reindeer ears for no good reason. Drive home the long way and let the lights catch you and hold you for a pocket of peace. Stop the car. Park it. And just sit quiet for a minute– no texts to keep you, no Instagram to push you off from the moment at hand. Forget for a moment that your vocabulary is plumped with Finals & Responsibility & Deadlines & Due Dates. Just laugh & sing & dare to miss the moments that will be gone tomorrow.
Remember: It is a book. It is a test. It is a paper. That’s it. That’s all.
You’ll make it. Myself, this love letter, and anyone who has ever been there before…we are pulling for you.