Getting Through the “Molasses Times”

“Persistent people are able to visualize the idea of light at the end of the tunnel when others can’t see it” 
― Seth GodinThe Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit

A friend of mine used to call this time of the semester the walking-through-molasses weeks. There was so much to do, but we students were tired of doing all of it. We hated the food in the cafeteria. We hated the way our professors told the same old jokes or said the same things at the beginning of each test. We hated our teammates in group work. Everything seemed to take longer than it should; there seemed to be obstacles at every turn. We were unhappy and grumpy. 

People always disappeared at this point in the semester. They were somewhat of a mystery to my friends and me. (And, later, when I started teaching, they remained a mystery.) These students had put in more than half of a semester, did not withdraw by the drop date, and then gave up with less than a month to go.

Sure, some of them were failing and probably realized that no amount of effort was going to change things, so they stopped coming to class. But others were passing the courses; they just stopped. I think what may have happened is that they lost sight of their goal, and the daily tedium no longer seemed worth it. However, those who felt just as weighed down by their courses but kept their ultimate goal in mind kept on slogging through the figurative molasses.

Now I’m not one who has made great use of vision boards and written affirmations, but this might be a good time to write down your ultimate dream and pin it up where you can be reminded of why you’re hurting your brain with organic chemistry or shaking at the thought of one more speech.

I’m going to be a nurse or a doctor.

I want to get into the honors program at the university.

 Keeping the ultimate goal in mind might not make the slogging easier, but it does keep you moving forward. 


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