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‘Cat in the Stacks: When College Gets Hard


 I’m Michelle Callaghan, a first-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.

I’m going to get a little real right now. Whether you’re a freshman, super senior, or grad student, college gets hard. Of course it does—would it be worth our time if it weren’t a challenge? Still, that point of view isn’t particularly motivating when you’re in the throes of finals week. At this point, you’re a little sapped of energy and running on E. You might be missing sleep. You might be skipping meals for extra study time, or relying on Kraft Mac and Cheese and that dried out jar of peanut butter for dinner.
And if you’re a sensitive soul, you might just feel like crying sometimes.

And that’s okay.

You know that saying about your track record for getting through rough days? It’s one hundred percent, clearly, because time moves forward and life goes on. And that’s good to think about. If you feel overwhelmed, like you have to prove yourself, it’s because you do. That’s what this is. As pointless as things might feel right now (especially when Microsoft Word messes up your headers and page numbers for the nineteenth time), you’re earning something at the end of the program. If you feel pressed for time, that’s because you are—and let’s be honest: if you weren’t, you wouldn’t get things done.

Okay. Now that the tough love part is finished, let’s think about gratitude for a hot second. Sometimes what works for me is putting my workload in perspective via the First World Problems meme—stripped of its political implications, of course, and funneled down to its essential point: sometimes we complain about things that we are unbelievably lucky to be complaining about. That is, as unfortunate as it is for our perception of our own graciousness, we don’t see the forest for the trees. Blessed to be stressed? Maybe that’s pushing it, but you get the idea.

You’ll survive—you always do. But is that enough for you? To make it through? As long as your nose is to the grindstone, can you up the intensity? Now is your time to do something you’re proud of. Make your knowledge known, and own it! Don’t just finish the semester—make it count.

Go get ‘em, Nova Nation.

Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.



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Last Modified: April 30, 2015

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