Energy Management: Living to Run another Day

Recent Reflections from Independent Study

     Once in a while I get the rare opportunity as a reporter to do a reflection piece. As exams approach, here is a short work on mental stress from my independent study – a relevant topic for your end-of-semester rush! 

     “A wise teacher, a monk, in his alcove high in the mountains once said, “Prioritize sleep”. I am that monk, and these words could save many a tired university student if they only knew the truth. We’ve all sat at our lamp-lit Redeemer desks with a chemistry assignment, or a REL journal, or a major philosophy essay and looked at the clock, and looked at the assignment, done some quick mental arithmetic, and realized that the numbers just don’t add up. It can be a pretty painful experience, and I don’t want to underestimate how difficult those late nights under the lamp light can be. Everyone in university has faced them. How can we handle these moments of high stress?

     Let’s say you have an assignment at your desk, maybe several assignments, and there’s no way to have them done by tomorrow without staying up late. What should you do? In most cases, you should call it a night. The assignment might not get done – that can be difficult to take! – but in relation to your sleep and the wellbeing of your following day, the assignment really doesn’t matter. My brother Matthew shared some wisdom early in my university career. He said, “University is a marathon, not a sprint”. Wise words, sir Matthew.

     University as a marathon looks at the tricky late-night decisions differently. Instead of “Tomorrow is going to be terrible if I don’t stay up and finish this assignment” it looks at your four years of university and asks, “What do I want these four years look like?”, or even, “What do I want my life to look like?” Try not to get hung up on one assignment, or midterm, or essay, but instead look at the big picture of your four years at university. Drop an assignment or hand one in late for the sake of reaching your long-term goals for sleep, peace of mind, and general good health. Each day has to be lived out with enough energy left in the tank to run – and enjoy – one more mile of the marathon tomorrow”.

Excerpt from “Student Perspective and Community Wisdom”, an Independent Study.