What’s Left


The stress is hitting. I have 4 weeks left and more to do than I thought possible.

Just today, my parents and I began the move out process.  They brought a load of my stuff back home to Chicago.  While it feels good to get things started, doing so triggered a bit of panic within me as I realized all of the things I have to wrap up before April 26.

I have jobs to apply to, moving plans to solidify, competitions to submit my work to, I have 3 classes to wrap up… two of which are thesis project classes, friends to say goodbye to, clothes and furniture to pack up and move out, and what seems like a zillion other little things to cross off of the list in just 4 weeks.  What have I done to myself!!

Ok, I’ll calm myself down a bit.

The problem I am beginning to need to work through is that, when I am stressed out and short for time, I have a horribly hard time writing.  I’ll build a sentence, delete it, write a new one, delete it again.  I can’t make decisions on narrative or linguistic style, I get mad at my fingers for not typing as fast as my head is thinking, and so forth.  What should be a peaceful and enjoyable process turns into one of frustration.  This sometimes goes on for hours.

This has happened so many times before and will certainly happen again.  Something good about being a senior is that, with four years of this under my belt, I finally have an idea of ways to relax myself out of it…

While I was trying to wrap up my final project in my gateway course my sophomore year, I was also trying to wrap up 18 credits worth of classes.  I remember being stressed and frustrated with my lack of efficiency while I was writing.  I could annoyingly work on my math and physics courses in this state just fine, but when it came to writing, it just burned me out.

What I’ve found to work is when I separate myself from the world around me a bit.  I get rid of my phone.  I go to a coffee station where I know none of my friends will come to.  And I give myself 5 to 7 hours of a day to be unbothered.  It is all about time, location, and interior energy.  My thoughts are less scrambled, my body and muscles relax, I have no one to answer to, and I can just breathe.

I need to give myself a day to do this for my project and I need to do it as soon as possible.  I achieved NONE of my writing goals for this past week so I will need to start this week off strong and focus some of my time on this project instead of some others for a second.  Hopefully, Tuesday will be a day that I can try to reach this state.

I need to rediscover my energy and excitement for my project again!  I’ve gotta get the wheels turning for this.  I can do it.  It WILL happen!


Caroline Petersen

Caroline is a contributing writer to the Sweetland Minor in Writing Blog. She is an architect in training and spends a lot of her time sipping on cappuccinos and discussing elements of malfunctioning building features. She is a city girl who spent her elementary summers in the middle of Iowa at her aunt and uncles farm. She is a woman of many (unusual) facets that are traditionally fairly useless.

One thought to “What’s Left”

  1. Hey Caroline,

    I hope the stress has calmed down a bit for you! I realize my comment is a bit late in the game now, but my aim in writing you this is to A) encourage you to keep going B) attempt to offer some comfort by letting you know that you’re definitely not alone in this.

    There are two moments in here that really stuck with me. The first is when you explain the mentally grueling process of writing a sentence, deleting it, writing another. I’m experiencing the same thing in my own project, and I’ve realized that it originates with having too many ideas, too many directions fluttering around my head. What I’ve found helpful is abandoning that segment of my essay all together and picking another place from my outline to start. I find that sometimes when I’ve just been staring at a page for so long, it’s actually painful. Writing something different refreshes me, and eventually I return to the place I got stuck at almost organically, or at least with a fresh perspective. This way, I’m not wasting time but I’m also not trying to wring out whatever droplets of creativity I have left on a particular day.

    The second thing I totally relate to is that getting through science HW is much less exhausting than writing. I think with writing, nobody tells us how to get from point A to point B, so we have to run and stumble around our heads until we find ways. Unfortunately, I’m useless with advice on this point, but I think unplugging and giving yourself a day to write is such a good idea that you’ve inspired me to try it tomorrow.

    All the best of luck! We’re so close.

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