The Dilemma of the Last Finals Push

Since the first time final exams began to require a fair amount of effort, the semester’s last deadlines have brought about a weird sort of dynamic in my mind. There is a sort of dilemma that arises where I can’t wait to be done, but at the same time, I dread the rapid approach of each class’ final deadlines.

The end of the semester, of course, means freedom! Who doesn’t love winter break? No looming assignments, sleeping in past noon, more free time than I know what to do with, what’s not to love? After working and stressing hard about school for months, finally I get some time of pure, unadulterated relaxation.

On the other hand, there are deadlines of final exams, papers, and projects. To be sure, I have been preparing for these the entire semester. But it is also because these are often the culmination of the semester and quite significant grade-wise, they are probable cause for fear and stress. During this last stretch, I want to do well so my break won’t be plagued with guilt over not working hard enough, but these big final assessments are often exactly that—big. They require the most work, and thus in an ironic twist, I actually dread the impending deadlines. Now I want them to remain as far away as possible to make sure I can adequately finish the last of my schoolwork (yes, I am aware that me wanting time to slow down or speed up does not actually have any influence on time, but the train of thought is what’s important here).

I’ve found a similar dilemma before, which occurs I’m watching sports. When, say MSU and OSU are playing football, in theory I would want both teams to lose. However, as I well know, this is not possible. This leads to a problem of me not being sure who to root for in watching (because I am always naturally inclined to root for one team or the other). After a weird bit of back and forth, I always end up realizing that my rooting for either side does not, in fact, hold any weight in the outcome of the game, and thus all I need to do to resolve this completely made-up dilemma is stop thinking about, and simply watch the game. I use this logic to resolve my parallel school dilemma—stop thinking about this made-up problem of which direction I want time to be influenced towards, and just get to work. In fact, it was precisely this train of thought that led me to this blog post, which appears to be the first time that this edition of my overthinking has managed to be productive.

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