For most of us here at the college, we are about to hit crunch time. There are two weeks before final exams and graduation. That would be stressful enough if everything stopped except final lessons and exams. But of course that never happens. This week, I have a two-day meeting that I will have to attend by phone because interviews have been scheduled as well. I am also involved in another set of interviews which will take up most of Friday. And that doesn’t count more interviews that have yet to be scheduled, but have to happen before faculty leave campus after graduation.
I don’t write this to garner your sympathy. Most of you have as much or more going on. It’s stressful for everyone. And because it’s stressful, it’s even more important than usual to take a few moments every now and then to just enjoy what’s going on around you.
It doesn’t have to be much. Here are just a few things that give me a moment of joy throughout the day:
- I love stopping for a few seconds each morning as I walk toward the building to enjoy the lovely irises that are now blooming in the library garden.
- I enjoy my walk to Target at lunch time to buy my Diet Coke and talk to the folks behind the counter who now know me (or to Chipotle, which has become my own version of Cheers).
- Since the playoffs are going on, I like moving our stuffed animal catfish into a posture of celebration or sadness, depending on the outcome of the Predators’ match the day before.
- If I find myself getting ‘stabby’ (a math dean coinage) in the afternoons, I take a quick walk around the quad. Just saying hi to a few students or colleagues is usually enough to restore my equilibrium.
- I try to have to have something to look forward to doing. It could be a dinner with friends or a concert. But sometimes, it’s something as simple as knowing that a good book is waiting for me at home.
And the nice thing about working at a college is that, no matter how tension-filled the next few weeks are, a lot of the stress simply ends with graduation. It’s the nature of our business.