The Little Things

By the time it gets to the end of the week, I’m dead. My last class on Friday ends at 2, I walk home blaring Imagine Dragons and Weezer, and either dump my backpack and catch up with my roommates, or dump my backpack and do my laundry.

Today is the Laundry Friday.

I’m currently sitting in the laundry room with my legs propped up on the table typing away and waiting for the wash to finish before I pop it into the dryer. Every five minutes someone waves to me from the doorway.

Which leads me to why I’m bringing laundry up in the first place. Even though the stereotypical college student supposedly hates laundry day, I think it has its social and therapeutic qualities.

I know, this sounds really weird, but hear me out. The laundry room in my dorm is close to the back door so it gets a lot of traffic from students walking to and from classes. Certain hours yield more people doing laundry than others, so sometimes you’ll see a fair amount of people that way, too. It’s kind of the perfect way to say hi to friends before the weekend hits and you either hole up in your dorm or spend every waking minute outside for the next 48 hours.

Last year I would bring my homework along and try to be productive during the 1+ hour of being in a relatively distraction free room. It worked! I have the distinct memory of reading Thomas Aquinas for theology and writing rough drafts of my paper on societal standards on campus for writing. The sound of the machines has this rhythmic quality to it that just becomes white noise if you stay in there long enough.

Even after the whole process of doing laundry, it still has to be folded. And that is where the true relaxing comes into play. Yeah, OK, so you probably think I’m nuts by now. But I swear there’s something soothing about repeating the same action with warm, sweet smelling fabric. Granted, it can be pretty staticky and I’m so ready to sit down after folding what is two large loads worth of clothes, but it’s still a nice chore compared to taking out the garbage.

I guess the take away from this is to look for the unexpected pleasures in life. Meet ups with friends in uncommon places, homework in rooms not intended for studious behavior, and unwinding at week’s end through mundane “normal” activities. But that’s the best part of the college life. Always expect the unexpected. Life is more enjoyable that way.

Fwap Fwap
Whoosh
Smooth Smooth
Fold
Smooth Smooth
Fold
Stretch
Smooth Smooth (quickly now)
Fold
Stretch
Smooth Smooth (faster now)
Fold

Fold

Fold

Flip

The Laundry

Clumsiness is to Lack of Sleep as Stress is to School

That’s it. I’m officially a walking disaster zone when I’m tired. And stressed. Lots of stress.

In the last 15 minutes alone I have managed to spill brownie mix all over myself (dry, thankfully), spill water on my socks, and smudge brownie mix on my sleeves (not dry).

My lack of coordination is usually straight forward and easy to deal with. You know, the typical tripping over my feet, falling up the stairs, running into people while walking backwards, dropping random objects, but all fairly predictable and spread out through the week.

But three mishaps in 15 minutes? Maybe I should rethink wearing heels to Loyola Rising tonight.

Those bricks on the bridge are not conducive to heeled boots.

Now, if you’re wondering why I’m so tired and therefore clumsy, I have three words for you:

Registration/Thanksgiving Break

Yesterday, sophomores registered for their spring semester classes and I can say without a doubt that the 30 seconds of staring at the “Loading” sign are some of the most stressful in my life.

Most courses range from 15-25 spots (a very intimate and personal classroom) and as the day goes by, section after section fills up and those who have later registration times go through three or four “back up” schedules. Like me.

I don’t handle that kind of stress well. Opening up my college acceptance/denial letters was torture. Waiting to see if I got the last spot in a Printmaking class was like sitting on tenterhooks and having my heart try to leap through my lungs.

If it’s any consolation, registration gets easier every semester. Seniors always have first pick, followed by Juniors, then Sophomores, and first years actually get help registering. Loyola often adds more sections for core courses, so that eases up the overflow, too.

Normally after registration life is a bit easier and the stress build-up dissipates within a few hours, but this year registration was right before Thanksgiving break. Which means professors try to cram in as many tests, projects, and papers as possible.

Why this crazy amount of work for what isn’t even a full week of break?

Because two weeks after Turkey Day is final exams and then FREEDOM!!!!!!

Don’t get me wrong, I love it here. I enjoy my classes, professors, friends, and free time in Baltimore. But sleeping in and not worrying about running clubs or writing papers is at the top of my Christmas  wishlist. (I take after my dad. He always asks for Peace and Quiet.)

I’m used to being busy, but there are fits and spurts of hectic craziness that make one week drag on forever and another feel surprisingly short.

In order to not wind up like me and accidentally snap at your roommates when they kindly ask what you would like to do for the weekend (or get covered in chocolate powder), here are a few pointers:

  1. Think ahead. If you know there are a lot of things coming up, then you can…
  2. Plan ahead. Having a calendar is essential to getting work done on time.
  3. Make lists! Having something to cross off makes me feel accomplished. Half the time I don’t cross it off anyway, but just knowing the order of things still helps.
  4. Be aware of others. You probably aren’t the only one freaking out, so be willing to accept and give support.
  5. Eat well. Grab some breakfast, even if it’s only a granola bar, get lots of protein (eggs are brain food!), and indulge in the occasional sweet as a reward (OK, maybe more than occasional).
  6. Take time to relax and do something that doesn’t use the analytical part of your brain. And I don’t mean watch TV. Color, knit, write stream-of-consciousness poetry, play solitaire, lie outside and look at the clouds, cook dinner.
  7. Laugh! I’m not kidding. Having one of those belly-laugh moments is great. Laughing so much that your abs hurt and your eyes are tearing up sounds ridiculous, but if feels so good afterwards.
Reading

Apparently I looked like a mermaid, tucked away reading in my room over the weekend.

Stress painting

My roommate & I paint to relieve stress; it tends to come out rather abstract.

I'm a ghost!

I'm telling you: Belly laughs. They're good for the spirit.

Unconventional Study Spots (Lead to Interesting Acquaintances)

Remember how I wrote about my fun, book filled Sunday afternoon?
Well, I’m happy I enjoyed it while I could.
Because then Monday came and I went from

Yeah, 'cause everyone wakes up like this in the morning :P
to

I know I’ve put a very happy, chill kind of spin on Loyola so far, but everyone has a “crazy day.” Or week. Or month. Or semester. Sometimes it gets hard to handle and I wonder Why On Earth Did I Sign Up To Do So Much Stuff.

Just as I convince myself that there are never enough hours in a day to do everything, some little bit of happiness comes my way and makes the stress more bearable.

This week, it came in the form of an engineering professor.

It’s strange that a faculty member who is on the opposite side of the education spectrum from my major would influence my life, so maybe I should give a little back story about our acquaintance.

Fact #1 About My Study Habits: They aren’t normal.

I hate working at my desk. In fact, I hate working in places that are designated for studious application. I avoid the library like the plague (mainly because it’s on the opposite side of campus) and I have never been to The Study (but I hear it looks like Hogwarts). Instead, I find cozy places on campus to do my work.

In my first semester I discovered the huge armchairs on the second floor of Humanities – perfect for propping up a laptop, sorting articles, and writing papers on the large armrests.

These chairs are PERFECT

The Reading Room became my weekend sanctuary as I ploughed through comp/sci projects, Theology readings, and accidental naps in the poufy reclining chairs.

Couldn't really get a better shot, but trust me, those chairs will make you fall asleep!

My second semester led me to the basement of Donnelly Science Center where I wrote Lit analyses and ate lunch before I walked over to Knott Hall for a math class.

"Would you like a desklamp with that?"

My study spaces always change, but they all have one thing in common: it’s relatively quiet, they’re near my classes, and I can separate my work life from my home life.

Thing is, I didn’t realize how quickly people could consider you a permanent installment in their environment.

After a few weeks of doing homework in Donnelly, I got used to seeing certain professors pass by; they got used to me sitting there. One day, they came up and talked to me, learned I wasn’t an engineering major, still offered the use of the engineering lounge for studying, and ever since have always said hello.

Normally interaction between departments, especially that of the sciences and humanities, is fairly limited at college. But not here.

Definitely not here.

One of these professors saw me on campus during the first week and asked if I would still be studying in Donnelly. I wasn’t sure if my classes would bring me there, but they have, and now I’m back in my “office” as he jokingly put it.

On Monday he said I should feel free to bring a desk lamp.

To him, I’m not some transient student who is one out of two hundred in a lecture hall. I have a name, a face, habits, and am truly recognized as a human being.

Having really busy, crazy days is part of life, but having someone who cares even in a small way makes it worthwhile.