The arguably busiest week for all Princeton undergraduate students is most adequately titled reading period (a time in between the end of classes and the day all written work is due, Dean’s Date). You will likely think that the campus has been completely abandoned, while New Jersey’s cold weather may add to this effect, it is mainly a result of the impending deadline that nears the end of the week. Most students will be scattered throughout all of Firestone Library’s six levels or at Frist Campus Center. Depending on my mood, you’ll either find me in a cubicle on the B-level of Firestone or grabbing a burrito bowl at late meal with friends. There is usually no in between because I’m either ranting about the latest movie I’ve watched or I’m writing a 10-page paper for my Zen Buddhism class.
I’ve successfully completed my third reading period during my time here at Princeton and I’d like to say I’ve got a bit of a handle on it now but that would most certainly be a lie. I’d like to normalize not having everything figured out when entering a stressful time and I’m glad I’m surrounded by people who make me feel like I’m not completely insane for feeling that way. While every friend group is different, I think the community I’ve found here is truly amazing. I’ll enter a shift at work and have a long conversation about my day, even the smallest details being shared. I’ll send a long chain of texts to my friend about my worries and minute inconveniences and I’ll be met with so much motivation. I think that’s what keeps me going during a time where it feels like everything is on the line and there’s a lot of pressure. The free snacks and fidget toys handed out by our Peer Health Advisors also really help (I fell in love with a squishy stress ball).
Most importantly, I really want to emphasize why self care is so crucial during a time like reading period. I’ve learned to not allow one week out of the 52 in the year determine my future or happiness. While future reading periods will continue to be daunting, I’ll continue to do my best and prioritize my well-being over a really difficult Neuroanatomy exam (fingers crossed that I did well).