Me Before My Degree

I spent all of yesterday reading and reading and talking and reading and reading some more. Sadly, it wasn’t that fun kind of reading. The kind where all you want to do is consume the words on the page as fast as your brain can process them and remember every little detail that interests you. Instead, it was that laborious, read to finish my paper kind of reading.

You see, it is currently finals week here at Cornell and I am, quite literally, dying (in the most figurative sense, of course). Between four papers and three final exams and 20 hours of work, I am not sure when I am supposed to find time to eat, sleep, be sane, or – pardon my frankness – shower. But that’s okay, right? Who needs personal health when you’re getting a bachelor’s degree at an Ivy League institution?

Last year, I would have chided anyone who said that and reminded them to prioritize their own health and ask for an extension or for help. But this year? I avoid asking for extensions at all costs (though I have had to fold on a few occasions this semester) and I stay up all night for nights in a row straining to finish the work that comes with taking 20 credits. For some reason, I forgot to remember that I am more important than my grades or my degree.

At this point it is probably important to note that I do have depression, and so, sometimes I get hit by waves of depression and anxiety and forget myself in them. I suppose this is one of those times. In fact I was swept so far from my normal that I had to ask for an extension which ended up lasting nearly three weeks. In that time I had breakdowns, my internal cracks showed more than usual, and eventually I came to terms with what was triggering my depression.

For many reasons (which I won’t be sharing on the world wide web) I had stopped loving myself. I had stopped recognizing my own reflection. I had stopped knowing who I was.

But these past two weeks? I feel myself relearning a lot of what I once knew and discovering new aspects of myself. That is why I decided to start writing again. In words I have always found solace; in knowledge, happiness.

Which brings me back full circle to my laborious readings. I spent all of yesterday reading about a hundred articles, excerpts, and opinions on new media’s (or social media’s) effect on the English language. And you know what? I hated every second of it; until today.

Today, I began writing my paper on the topic and had an epiphany (maybe text speak is actually a second language?!), then I spoke with my TA and realized I had actually retained all the information I had scrubbed through. And tonight? Tonight I am taking a breath and writing so that tomorrow I can study for my law final, because my health is more important than anything else.


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