I’m Michelle Callaghan, a second-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is our column, “‘Cat in the Stacks.” I’m the ‘cat. Falvey Memorial Library is the stacks. I’ll be posting about living that scholarly life, from research to study habits to embracing your inner-geek, and how the library community might aid you in all of it.
Perhaps in an effort to kindle some Thanksgiving feelings in response to my shockingly early Christmas spirit this year, I’m looking at November as a full month of thankfulness. It’s easy to forget all about that holiday, not only because it gets lost in the ring-ting-tingling of the sleigh bells jingling, but also because it’s November. All students know that the weeks after fall break can be, well, all-consuming. We’d solidified routines for weekly assignments and study sessions, except now final papers and final exams are close on the horizon. Now we have to sacrifice the little free time we have to ramp up the workload – and at this time in the semester, the stakes get ever higher.
This period of time always falls near Thanksgiving.
In some ways, that can be a little frustrating. The time you’d like to spend with friends and family is co-opted by studies, by that deadline coming fast on the turkey’s heels, and you can’t sink into the holiday the way you could before college.
But in other ways, Thanksgiving couldn’t come at a better time.
When it comes to inner peace, the more zen among us all seem to have the same advice: be grateful. When you are grateful, it is impossible to give into darkness and stress. Will you still be stressed? Yes, of course. But perhaps the stress won’t have you on a tight chain when you remain mindful of a few things:
You are in college and that’s awesome. Very few people have the opportunity you have. It might have felt like the logical and unavoidable next step to you, but for many, it’s a dream to be wished for.
“This too shall pass.” College can feel infinite, eternal. The weeks before finals feel particularly oppressive. But semesters are short. College is but a brief experience in a hopefully long life. Live it up – even if living it up means sleep deprivation and microwaved dinners through mid-December. You will be thankful for it later, so try to imagine that same thankfulness now.
You made it this far. As the proverbial they say, there’s no turning back now. And how great that you have almost an entire semester under your belt? That’s something to be thankful for.
Thanksgiving won’t always be synonymous with semester’s end. For now, be present, do what you have to do, and always try to remember the special gift that academia can be.
Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.