So here we are in the middle of October. I’ve been at school for nearly two months now (with plenty of trips home for cubbing of course), I’ve settled into my job with the school newspaper and the equestrian team is gearing up for its first competition as I begin my sophomore year in college. Shakerag’s puppies from last year have been doing well with cubbing since September, and Opening Hunt is right around the corner! You know what else is screaming for my attention in my planner? Midterms.
These things mess everything up. Unlike final exams, midterms don’t have an entire week dedicated to them, and although professors aren’t required to have a formal midterm exam, they all seem to schedule them at the same time.
They just pop up in the middle of the semester and demand your attention while the chaos of everyday life keeps you running at Mach speed. Therein lies the source of this month’s photo. This is how I found my roommate one night when I looked up from my studies to ask her a question. I don’t exactly know if she had fallen asleep or if she had just finally given in to midterm week, but if I could put the exhaustion, stress and overall wrath of midterms into one picture, this would be it.
This year, midterms all seemed to fall at the worst time possible; the week between Mountain Day weekend (which acts like Berry College’s homecoming, field day and fair all in one) and fall break. So after you’ve accomplished approximately nothing over the weekend because of Mountain Day, the last thing you want to do is buckle down and work for hours on end with fall break tempting you at the end of the week.
In typical fox hunting-addict form, I hunted on the first morning of Mountain Day weekend. Mr. Wayne remarked on the way to the meet, “You know, us fox hunters must be truly crazy to get up this early on a Saturday morning. But then as I get closer to the meet and start seeing more trailers on the road, I realize I’m not alone!”
After some hard work and trying early on, Shakerag had a good run despite the perfectly clear skies and 70 + degree weather. Once I had cleaned the tack and made sure the horses were settled in back at home, I proceeded to drive two hours back to school in order to make it in time for Marthapalooza (a free midnight fair brought onto campus, named after our school’s founder, Martha Berry). If my parents didn’t think I was crazy before, this has confirmed it.
Now here comes the not so fun part. In the following week, along with my regular duties with equestrian team practice, workouts and meetings, work meetings, production nights, deadlines and interviews, and time spent in class, I had four exams, one quiz, a paper and a lab write up due.
Believe it or not, the point of this piece is not to complain about school, because at the end of the day, I actually did sign myself up for all of this. Although I definitely did not enjoy this particular week of school, I came to a realization halfway through.
After a day full of classes, a lesson and a workout for the equestrian team, I had gone to work at the school paper’s office where once a week, editors of each section come together, clothed in sweats and pajamas, to organize the mass number of interviews, photos and stories they’ve worked on for the past seven days into one awesome student publication. This whole process typically lasts from 6 pm Tuesday night until 12-1:00 Wednesday morning, although it has been known to take much, much longer.
It was around 1:00 am when I was walking back to my dorm after working on the paper for nearly eight hours straight. Because I go to Berry College, the campus is pretty quiet at 1:00 on a Wednesday morning. I was dragging my feet, dreading the idea that I had a chemistry midterm in only nine hours. Sure, I had been preparing for over a week at that point (chemistry is not exactly my forte), but with production night, I didn’t get a chance to do much of a review while I was fully conscious during the day. I planned to do a quick review when I returned to my room, review again in the morning, and then pray profusely on the way to class that it would all somehow work.
I started going down my mental list of exams left to prepare for, labs to finish and papers to complete. A small herd of deer shuffled through the lawn of the gym to my right. I was thankful for my warm sweatpants and coat as the nighttime chill set in. The only sounds were my footsteps and a distant train horn as it passed through town.
I looked up to the clear, star-soaked sky (probably in desperation). As I saw my breath rise in a thick cloud, I had one thought: it’s finally fall, temperatures are dropping…HUNT SEASON STARTS SOON! I suddenly got a jolt of excitement as I looked forward to the season just around the corner. Or maybe it was the lack of sleep starting to take its toll. Either way, I found a short burst of energy for an intense, 20-minute chemistry review before collapsing into bed for a few hours. But as I lay there, in my last few minutes of consciousness, my mind flashed back to what Mr. Wayne had said at the hunt a few days ago as I recalled what my section of the newspaper had covered this week: mental illness. Maybe foxhunters really are crazy, but if that’s so, I don’t suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it!