The week of finals is always a bit stressful. And by a bit I mean that chocolate is a necessity, ice cream is a must, and massages are welcome all around. Everyone’s running around like chickens about to be slaughtered. Every student studies for hours, days even, cramming all the knowledge of an entire semester (or half of the semester) into their head so they can spit it back out again on the test. Greek exams, Sys Theo exams, OT exams all loom ahead, cackling as students wander into their clutches only to free them a couple hours later. As each student wanders back from their finals the same bewildered expression masks their face. Did that really just happen? And they go back to their room to study for the next one.
I am fortunate enough not to have any finals. Everyone looks at me with a twinge of hatred when I say that, but I’m not free of school yet. I have papers. If anything papers are worse than finals. Finals are over in a few short hours. Papers take days. Papers take weeks of your time and suck it into a vortex. You can spend days on a paper and realize that it’s crappy and delete it. Then you have to start over again. Papers are not nice to you. They know their power and they abuse it. They laugh at you as you attempt to write that intro paragraph using some lame metaphor. They sneer as you misuse commas in the body. They might even slap you in the face when you come to the conclusion and realize that you failed to prove thesis. Papers are cruel.
I had to write two short stories, a play, and two papers. Most people laugh at me when I tell them that I’m stressed about this. I even had someone say that I could whip out those short stories no problem, because I’m a writer. It comes easy to me, right? HELL NO! The creative endeavor is the most difficult of all. Creativity comes in splashes or drips more often than it comes in downpours. To be told by a professor that you must manufacture something that would normally take years of your life in a manner of days is more terrifying than anything I’ve yet encountered. To be fair, the play was a process of about half the semester. So that went well. But those stories. They didn’t just laugh, or sneer, or slap. It was like Chinese Water torture. Drip, drip, drip. I just wanted the flood to come. JUST GIVE ME WHAT I NEED NOW! No, they smiled calmly and just dripped. I finally finished one. I was completely dissatisfied, but I turned it in. I’m still working on the other. It will undoubtedly be less than I hoped, but it will be done. And then I can handle the dripping.