Fact # 1: It is currently a very, very busy time at Whitman College. Finals week is coming up, and professors are really gearing up the workload in the last couple weeks before the semester comes to a close.
Fact # 2: I have gone through the experience of finals week 6 times before, making this my 7th venture through the long haul of papers, exams, stress, and not quite enough sleep.
Fact # 3: This is my second to last finals week. Next semester will be my last, and then I’ll be going out into the big, broad world of not-measuring-time-in-semesters.
While simultaneously terrifying and exciting (excitifying? terrxciting?) this last realization has really gotten me thinking about my first ever finals week at the college, and the things that I experienced in that first ever rush to get to the end of the semester in one whole piece. A lot goes on during the average student’s finals week – papers will be written and revised, exams will be studied for and taken, and there will almost always be one or two late nights spent hunched over a desk, staring at a computer screen or notebook until the wee hours of the morning, eyes bleary, thoughts numbing as the hours pass without end until the dawn. It is on these nights, particularly during the first year of college, that you learn a lot of things, both about yourself and (hopefully) about the subjects you are studying.
So what was my big epiphany during my first ever series of late nights working on papers I was desperate to finish on time? What soul brightening, world quaking moment broke through that haze of study induced delirium and sleep deprived brain fog?
The Café in the basement of the Library, Café 41, is open late. Like, 1 in the AM late, 1 in the morning and I’m crashing hard and need a serious energy kick late. Like, oh man, why did I never realize that Whitman has a 24 hour library and a super awesome café open so late at night precisely for nights like this, nights when the brain is churned to mush, the spirit is worn to dust from the amount of work you’ve poured unceasingly into your studies, and the stress is gnawing at that final nerve, a nerve that can only be reinforced with the steely armor of late night coffee, food and probably soda?
Needless to say, I hit up the café immediately, and thanks to the miracle of caffeine, found the energy I needed to get through the rest of the night of hard work. It might seem like a kind of trivial realization, but to me, it was absolutely world changing, in part because of the linked realization that at Whitman, I really did have all of the tools that I needed to succeed (even if those tools include something as simple as a late night coffee run). I’ve used the café at the library practically every finals week ever since.
So, as we go diving into these last couple of weeks of hard work and stress, I know that I’ll be wiring myself up to a good surge of coffee powered energy, and doing the best I can to do the best I can. And may everyone who needs a good shot of energy, for whatever reason, find the boost they need to get through.