On the precipice of great things
♪♫♪ On the A.M. radio they’re playing Christmas songs, so horrendously off key, you loudly sing along / Cider simmer on the stove, reading Dickens by the low of the light that lingers through the window…
I write this while hovering on the brink of insanity.
Okay, even I recognize the hyperbolic nature of that statement. But every semester when I reach that point of no return, I always feel like I’m dangling on the edge of oblivion. There’s so much to think about that my head is spinning. Chronic undersleeping, I’m sure, has me looking downright ghoulish as I wither away in these days before the barrage of exams that await me. To prelude my finals week, I had two exams the week prior, which were…nightmarish to say the least. (Naturally these same classes also had cumulative final exams the following week during finals week…)
For better or worse though, nearly every semester I think to myself…I’ve never been so stressed in my life. I don’t know if I can handle this.
But in the end…I’m still here. Even as each progressive semester grows more challenging…I’m still alive. And I’m still fighting with all my might, working for everything that I want for myself. I probably bring up How I Met Your Mother much too often in my writing, but it’s a very poignant show to me that I’ve often used to lift my spirits when they’re low. After running through the episodes so many times now, it’s a show that I can watch with very little thinking about it because I have become so familiar with the characters and their stories. Recently, when I indulged in an episode because of my stress-induced sadness, something one of the characters said struck me. In the scene, the eponymous Mother is at a crossroads in her life. Her friend tries to steer her in the right direction, prompting her with the thought: What do you want to do with your life? Well…from now on, every decision you make and action you take should be made in direction of that goal.
I know it’s a fictional show with characters that are not bound by the limitations of reality, but this is the kind of message that makes HIMYM such a special show in my heart. The statement is overarching and vague, but lately I’ve been comforting in these times of stress with a sentiment akin to what that fictional character expressed—that everything I’m doing now, no matter how trivial or useless it may be to me in just a few days, is not for waste because it bring me one step closer to my goals.
But in any case…by the time you read this, dear reader, hopefully your final examinations will be finished! Perhaps you’re waiting on bated breath on the outcomes because you were on a borderline, or you’re gritting your teeth from walking out of a brutal examination…in any case, if you have done everything in your power and worked as hard as you can, just be proud of yourself. And this might be hypocritical of me to say because I’m so hard on myself as it is, but I am trying to believe it too. That if I did everything I could possibly do, then at the end, regardless of how things end up, I will be okay.
As the last official day of the semester draws to a close, I’ll be frantically throwing my things together in a hasty effort of packing for my nine days in Panama. I have but vague ideas of what to expect and I’m sure how it’ll really be will be little similar to how I’m imagining it anyway. In just a few short hours, I’ll be on my way to O’Hare airport and out of North America…wish me luck! I can’t wait to spend my time in the clinics and with the people there It feels like it’s been so long since I last traveled out of the country, and I’m happy to be spending it volunteering my time to a community. I’ll even be back in time for the holidays to spend some solid, precious time with my family without any pressing worries hanging over my head. Although we don’t follow any classic traditions, it will be lovely to be able to spend Christmas and New Year’s at home with the people I love most in the world. That’s really what I look forward to most, especially after such this hectic semester of hard work and heartache. I am looking forward to baking to indulge my father’s sweet tooth, going shopping with my mom, seeing a movie with my brother, and hanging out with my best friend Armita who will be home from UC Berkeley! Never have I been so excited to be in the presence of people I love.
Congratulations to everyone who finished the semester—we did it!
Beneath the winter moon I remember when I fell for you / So delicious but so devious, when you stole that kiss in my living room ♪♫♪
(Winter Moon – Mindy Gledhill)
Sarah Lee is a junior studying neuroscience and Russian in the GPPA Medicine program at UIC. She’s still trying to figure out exactly what she wants to do, but some of life goals include running a marathon, exploring Eastern Europe and becoming fluent in Russian. In her free time, she loves running, playing piano and guitar, and reading. A Naperville native, Sarah is a peer mentor in the Courtyard residence hall.