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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

End of Semester Blues

At the end of the semester people starting telling me how tired they were. It had been an exhausting semester. I agreed with them, but I ultimately felt that these conversations ended up having a negative effect on me. I kept telling myself how tired I was, how burnt out. I almost deliberately didn't do some writing I had planned to do, but it turned out that the effort of not working made me more tired than ever before. I wasn't not working and enjoying myself, just doing less during the same number of hours in the office.

So when you hear this kind of chatter, how busy, how tired we all are, beware of that insidious form of peer pressure. You can acknowledge that someone else's feelings about this are legitimate, but you don't have to buy into the mindset. Repeating to yourself over and over again, "I'm so tired" will tire you out even more quickly, because the language you use to describe your body will have an effect on it.


Anonymous said...

Yes, this is key. Of course part of saying you're so tired is to prove you're not slacking. However, in the days when I was really productive, I knew to recognize the "I'm so tired" as the symptom of a problem. People who were working well for the long haul never allowed themselves to get "so tired" because they were in training, as it were. You don't wear yourself down if you're planning to go to the Olympics or something.

What people who are working well say is more like -- I'm tired of *this class* or ready to finish up *this article* or ready to knock off *for today.* Or, even ready for the semester to end, or whatever ...

I also never get too tired if I am making progress. This semester was horrible but I made progress, so I didn't end up exhausted although the same amount of work and stuff with no progress would have been crushing.

Anonymous said...

The other tip I have for this, and I got it from one of your KU colleagues, is always to go on a short vacation in May. Ze said this years ago, never gets anything much done in May post graduation, either of work or of rest, so figured out it was the time to disappear, recharge batteries elsewhere very seriously, and then start in on summer work plan 1 June.

I was delighted to find out someone else also had my May problem, i.e. it wasn't just me. The times I have gotten it together to act on her solution, it has really worked well.

Clarissa said...

Several colleagues gave me "I'm so exhausted" speeches. These are the same colleagues who agreed to teach intensive summer course all summer long. Go figure.