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End of semester fun stifled by extensive to-do list

As academic year comes to close, non-academic duties add up

By Caity Donohue
On April 25, 2012


There's something about the end of an era that makes it hard to check items off of your to-do list. Currently, I've got several important items to complete: get the oil changed and the car checked before the drive home to Illinois, pack up the winter clothes to ship home, dot the i's on any last degree information. 

Most of these are technically in the red-as in, not even started-and my reluctance to begin most projects has less to do with procrastination and more to do with a lack of willingness to admit that the year is coming to a close.  

I once had a professor who, despite doing a lot of crazy things I thought were rather questionable, informed us that he preferred structuring his class "like a tuba" so that the biggest volume of work fell at the start of the semester rather than the end. As I find myself caving under the pressure of final projects and reflections, and the conclusion of student teaching, I wonder why more professors don't adopt this principle. Even as I am wondering, I know that most of my stressors, like everyone else's, are simply not academic right now. Rather, they are the questions about what is to come.  

We want to frolic while we have these sunny days (because it means summer is right around the corner)instead of writing research papers at our desks inside. 

We want to attend every single formal and social event possible instead of pulling all-nighters to put the finishing touches on projects. 

We want to blow bubbles in the Quad and write notes with chalk on sidewalks or read and watch intramural games on Mendel Field because, hey, we can get our reading done there, right? We'll just pack our eye drops for when our seasonal allergies attack. We're perhaps so hopeful about recapturing our youth that we almost forget we're still in it...and it's going to come to an end.  

When students in the classes above us way back in high school dispensed wisdom about not worrying so much about every little thing, such as our grades and college acceptances, we nodded solemnly and wondered cynically, "Sure, but where are you going?  What have you accomplished?" 

We didn't follow their wisdom then, although as I stood in my high school auditorium for graduation with my Villanova acceptance and hometown pride, I recall thinking something along the lines of, well, I guess I wasted a ton of energy worrying about this rocky year in Physics.  

Why can't we coast? Why are we not going to chill out and relax? Why won't we just let the end of the year fade into summer? Because we are Villanova students, and that is not what we do. We've got packing and planning to finish, final grades coming up, clubs to turn over to new executive boards, thank-you cards to assemble, pictures and frames to coordinate and dispense, finals to study for, jobs and internships to prepare for, cleaning to attend to and fun to have.  The tough life of a Villanova student----when we get to summer break, we like to think we've darn well earned it.    

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