What comes to mind when you think of Spring? New beginnings? Allergy season? Exam time? Or possibly all of the above…..

Since starting university, spring has taken on a new meaning for me. Those high school days where school lasted until the end of June and two-month summers are long gone. Instead, April has become the last month of school and four-month summers are the norm.

Because exam season happens to coincide with the beginning of spring in university, I find that you can divide the month of April into two phases:

Phase 1: StuDYING

This usually lasts until mid-spring and is dangerous for a few reasons – it’s harder to motivate yourself when it’s the tail-end of the semester. Freedom is within arm’s length but we’re not quite there yet…and that sucks, plain and simple.

What does this look like? Picture this: you have one more exam left which you have a week to study for. You get bored of looking over your notes and re-reading your textbook so you decide to take a break by binge-watching Netflix. After 5 hours of indulging in your gluttony, you feel like crap for what you just did and promise to yourself that you won’t do it again tomorrow. Repeat until exam day.

Phase 2: Dobby Ana is a free elf!!

It’s the night before your very last exam. You look over your notes one last time and fantasize about all the freedom that you’re gonna have after your exam tomorrow. Exam day comes, you hand in your test and HALLELUJAH, hello freedom, how you doin’? Maybe you’ll even go wild and treat yourself with an iced capp to celebrate, I mean hey, the world is your oyster.

Suddenly, you have all this time to do all the things you didn’t have time for (or told yourself you didn’t have time for) during the school year. You can finally binge-watch Netflix sans guilt! Then, you get into the summer-mode and start making plans for your four-month break before ‘back to school’ ads make their comeback in September.

The transition

The awkward transition between having a busy school schedule to all of a sudden having a lot of freedom is something that I’ve always experienced throughout my 4 years of uni, but could never quite figure out what exactly was wrong.

At first, I thought it was just normal exam stress but lately, I’ve realized that there’s a lot more to this. I mean, I’ve been in school my whole life. I’ve taken countless tests, exams, evaluations, you name it, so it can’t just be that. This ain’t my first rodeo!

After some reflection, I’ve come to think that it’s a stressful time for many because so many things are changing. Not only are the days getting longer and the weather getting warmer, but you also have to adjust to a whole new routine. And that’s not easy when you’ve become a creature of habit from having a rigid schedule.

Don’t get me wrong, who doesn’t love warmer weather, longer days and summer breaks? I look forward to them just as much as the next person but this usually comes with some adjusting.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s okay to feel sad during this time even though there’s seemingly no reason to be. As I mentioned before, who doesn’t look forward to finally not having to wear a bulky winter coat? But we also have to acknowledge our emotions, welcome them, and process them so we can begin again. After all, isn’t that what spring is all about?

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