I’ve been there before.
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— not left 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 through, knees sunk deep in the muds of history power points and audio projects. Some of you are stammering in the mirror before you give that final speech in class tomorrow. Maybe you are still muddling through the differences between el & 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 there are lights & lanterns & the promise of summer nights at the end of your tunnel. Perhaps it won’t be the grace of a love letter that gets you through 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. Listen to the Taylor Swift (she never gets old) while you slug a sugar-filled latte 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.
I keep it and laugh to myself because I honestly never thought I would miss it. A stack of pancakes. An open laptop. Hot chocolate with whipped cream dribbling from the side. All of us laughing, seniors and juniors and a few sophomores, not knowing at the time that we might as well whispered, “Yes, we are going to miss all of this one day soon.”
It’s hard to believe that 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, seeing the sun coming up before you close a book, the 24/7 mandatory sweatpants apparel for at least the next 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… nudge them… propose a coffee break… treat them.
String up holiday lights in your dorm room lounge (even if they are out of season) 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.
Let Beethoven trickle through the iHome. Take a Target break. Drive home the long way with the windows down and sad songs blaring through the speakers. Stop the car. Park it. Just sit quiet for a minute or two– no texts to keep you, no Instagram to push you out of the moment at hand. Forget for a moment that your vocabulary is plumped with Finals & Responsibility & Deadlines & Due Dates. Just laugh & sing & dare to miss the moments that will be gone tomorrow. The moments you’re going to miss tomorrow and might even find yourself thinking, “I wish I didn’t take that for granted.”
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.