As the last weeks of the semester draw to a close for those still residing in Academia-land (or anybody really, we all have rough times), sometimes the fragile nerves of a creative mind just need to be soothed.
By Annissa Omran (Writer/College Student)
Hi [Insert applicable stress-afflicted individual's name here]
I know it's been tough.
I know you have that [insert relevant assignment/deadline] due this week. I know you've been toiling over it for a very long time; so long, in fact, that the library is thinking of dedicating a wing in your honor titled "That-over-stressed-kid-with-the-caffeine-induced-twitch Wing". Don't worry, they're hiring special attendants with mind reading capabilities so they can help a student find what they need even when a student (like you) is in the throes of deadline driven incoherence.
(Added bonus: ghostbusters at your beck and call. I know how creeped out you get in the stacks.)
I know your frayed nerves have been screaming out in agony, producing a perpetual echo of uncertainty and self-doubt that ricochets off the walls of your mind. I know you think that everyone can hear the erratic thrumming of your heart as it performs cartwheels in your chest cavity every time you consider how little time you have left.
But - it is going to be ok.
Your writing is not bad and your professor/employer/lord-and-master will not hate you.
(Robin Williams believes in you - don't you dare let him down! [source] )
Here are a few reminders of how to function properly in this, your time of need:
Things TO do:
- Breathe. In. And out. This might seem as though it goes without saying but trust me. Oxygen helps and your lungs and surviving brain cells will thank you.
- Take a walk. Fresh air will do you good. It is not the insect infested wilderness you exaggerate it to be.
- Eat a healthy snack. Cookies don't count - I'm watching you.
- Tell yourself you are awesome. Do it. Now. Turn off that voice inside your head that wont shut up about form and syntax and just recognize for a second that you are an artistic entity (i.e. you are a total bad ass)
- Take a minute to riff. Writing papers/studying/whatever can be taxing on the mind. I personally tend to think of GREAT story ideas right when I have no business doing anything unrelated to my assignment. That's ok - in small doses. If inspiration strikes, jot it down and get back to work. Leaving it bottled up will just make you more antsy [see my previous post about inspiration].
Things NOT to do:
- Take another nap. It stops being "rejuvenation" and becomes "stalling" somewhere after the 3rd of the day.
- Start watching The Walking Dead on Netflix. Yes, it seems interesting and friends have recommended it.Yes, you want to do anything other than what you have to do. But no. You can't.
- Think of failing as a legitimate option. The minute it becomes an option is the minute a little part of your brain has admitted defeat. Stop that.
- Consider running away to Canada. While it is true that they are welcoming and nice and Canadian, finding solace in the north and evading the problem wont get you anywhere. And besides, you'd probably just freeze to death.
- Call up your friends to complain. Everyone loves a good bitching sesh, but you know they get a little tired of hearing about your flow issues and paragraph-structuring calamaties after a while. Your friends and family deal with your overdramatic, creative self on a regular basis, don't make it harder on these poor saints.
Due to my hatred of the musical Annie (something I can expound upon on a different day), I am resisting the cliche urge to make comments about bottom dollars and gambling habits.
(This is the closest I get to rewatching Annie)
But the general sentiments are true - tomorrow is another day. So take heart, and try not to punch yourself in the feelings too many times - you're sensitive there.
And you know something else, something I know you dont hear a lot and can never hear enough?
Close Encounters of a Patron Kind
It's the first night of a new show. As the seats fill and the air becomes rich with the sound of conversation and heel clicking, I pace my assigned aisle. I hold a sign that boldly states NO PHOTOGRAPHY. Underneath is a plain and clear clip art image of a crossed out camera.
A man in a beige suit approaches. He seems to be in his late 20s and well off, judging by the quality of his suit and loafers. His skin is tanned within an inch of its life and his smile, which he beams at me like a violent laser ray, is unnaturally bleached. Looking past it's white-hot intensity I notice he is holding a camera and gesturing towards me.
Me: Yes, sir?
Sun Tan Man: So can I take pictures? [laughs as if this is the funniest thing ever]
Me: This sign means no pictures once the show starts. But you may take pictures with family and friends now.
Sun Tan Man: Does it look like I have any family?
Sun Tan Man: I wanted to take a picture with you, sweetheart.
Me: I don't think so -
Sun Tan Man: Come on, you're the prettiest thing in here.
Me: Thank you, but -
Sun Tan Man: [clicks camera and walks away]
Sun Tan Man: [sitting back down in a group of tanned young men] Pay up.
Tan Friend: You didn't get the sign in the picture.
Sun Tan Man: So?
Tan Friend: The point of the picture was that she is holding a sign that says no photography.
Sun Tan Man: And?
Tan Friend: No one on instagram is going to understand this. Context is everything, idiot!
Me: [walks past as they sheepishly avoid eye contact] He's right, context matters. Enjoy the show, gentlemen.
is currently a college student and eternally a writer. An old movie aficionado, her interests include show tunes, singing loudly, and singing show tunes loudly. She also provides a (dramatic) running commentary on the life of a young writer.
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