I’ve been there.
Books piled up in a stack beside you. Nodding off to the glow of the computer screen. Neon strips of highlighter scraped across your forehead, leftover not from a raging highlighter party the night before but rather the all-nighter spent spooning Shakespeare term papers and mind-rattling interpretations of Samuel Beckett’s best works.
Some of you are halfway. Knees sunk deep in the muds of history power points and audio projects. Stammering in the mirror before you give that final speech in class tomorrow. Still muddling through the differences between el and usted. Nosotros & Vosotros.
Some of you are stocking up on caffeine fixes and 5-Hour Energy drinks before the storm hits. A storm of finals worth 60% of your grade. 12-pagers that will have you crawling into the light of the morning, turning your study guide into a white flag to wave and surrender.
You’ll make it.
I know it. I can promise that there are lights & lanterns & the promise of bonfires at the end of your tunnel. Perhaps it won’t be the grace of a love letter but the grace you’ll gain from the sound of the last book shutting. The sound of the last pages shuffling out from the printer and into your professor’s mailbox.
Remember to breathe. To eat. To sleep, if you can. Curl up on the couch in the campus center if that’s what it takes. Blast the Carly Rae Jepsen while you sip a caramel latte that you so deserve. And, on the nights where 1am comes quicker than shoppers to Best Buy on Black Friday, be the one to text your friends, “Diner. 2am. I’ll drive.”
I still keep that memory.
Unearth it as I do the sandals that get pulled down from the attic this time of year. Pulling off the cobwebs of a time that I didn’t know I’d ever miss. A stack of pancakes. An open laptop. Hot chocolate with whipped cream dribbling from the side. All of us laughing, not knowing at the time that yes, yes, we were going to miss it one day soon.
It’s hard to believe right now as you struggle to swallow every prefix in the dictionary or every literary term you’ll need to dissect that Emily D. poem tomorrow. But the closeness of friends in one place, the justified seeing of the sun coming up before you close a book and allow your bottom and top lids to mingle with one another again after a solid two weeks of Open & Awake, the 24/7 sweatpants apparel for at least two weeks… you’ll miss it when it is gone.
So pick your chin up from the computer. Stand up and stretch. Take a break to call your friend and see how studying is going. If there is someone beside you, smile… propose a coffee break… treat them.
String up holiday lights- so perfectly out of season- in your dorm room lounge and claim that a study executed at 800 universities across the country proved that the ambiance of the teeny tiny bulbs increased final grades by a whopping 73% percent.
Put out a blanket on the quad. A picnic basket. Let Beethoven trickle through the iHome. Get a bit of sunburn on your shoulders from the science that swept you in for a solid four hours. Take a Target break. Buy chunky sidewalk chalk no good reason. Drive home the long way and let the crickets and the sounds of nights that will go too quickly pour through the sunroof. Stop the car. Park it. And pull out your sidewalk chalk. Forget for a moment that your vocabulary is plumped with Finals & Responsibility & Deadlines & Due Dates. Just laugh & draw & trace & dare to miss the moments that will be gone tomorrow.
Remember: It is a book. It is a test. It is a paper. That’s it. That’s all.
You’ll make it. Myself, this love letter, and anyone who has ever been there before…we are pulling for you.