End of the Year Reflections: The Conflict Between Feeling Done and Excited

    Is it really May already? It seems like just yesterday I returned to campus an enthusiastic incoming sophomore, ready for the start of a new year.

    While it seems like the school year just began, it has also been the longest year that I can remember to date. From increasing my class load to taking on more extracurriculars; from starting new friendships to struggling with old ones; from celebrating happy occasions to working through trauma and depression. My mind was always on and I was always working, sometimes on homework, but usually on things outside of the classroom. I put a lot of effort into my passions and sometimes just as much effort into things that didn’t matter as much. I was always busy, running from one thing to the next. I took some courses I really enjoyed, and I took some that I could barely sit through. There were just so many things in my life happening simultaneously.  

    At the same time, I came into this year in a certain mindset. Coming to Brandeis as a midyear, my first semester on campus was like a college trial run. We took classes, lived on campus, joined clubs, made new friends, and had a lot of fun - but it was very honeymoon-esque. Midyears do not get the picture of what a full year of college looks and feels like because our first “year” was really only a semester. The combination of still feeling like a freshman and managing each of these things as they arose hit me forcefully but in waves, and I often thought that this was the definition of the well-known term “Sophomore Slump.”

     Through the journey that was my sophomore year, I learned a lot. I figured out what I want to major in. I learned how to arrange music. I explored some topics for the sake of learning, not just because I needed the credit. I learned how to balance the coinciding aspects of my life as I realized how much I was overbooked.

     Not only did I learn about school-related subjects, but even more so, I learned an unbelievable amount about myself. I became aware of my mental health and learned the importance of maintaining my sanity. I learned how to say “no” to things that I just couldn’t take on. I learned that being selfless can get in the way of self-love and care, and what that means to me. I saw many of my connections with others in new ways, some positive and some negative, and prioritized the people who lifted me up the most when I really needed it. I strengthened my sense of independence and learned what my presence means in the context of others. I grew as a leader, a listener, and a member of a larger community. Starting my last week of sophomore year made me realize how much I have learned and how much has changed.

    And because of this rollercoaster of a year, I am completely burnt out. It’s hard to believe that a person like me, someone who’s already not really into the whole school thing but understands the importance of being educated and tries to learn for the sake of learning, can have literally no energy left to push through finals.

    But as a crazy year ends, a new hope arises: a hope that stems from the acknowledgment of what has made the year such a rollercoaster and drives change for the future. This excitement for change and desire to be in a better place is what fuels my eagerness for next year. Although I would not be ready to start another semester tomorrow, I am looking forward to getting back to school in September, ready to take on new challenges and continue fixing old ones, see familiar faces and meet new ones, get back in the classroom, and prepare for another journey of a year at college.

    But time is important. Time helps you retain your sanity and rejuvenates you for what is to come. So in the meantime, catch me after finals taking a long, much-needed nap.