The initial glow and optimism of the early semester are long gone, and I don’t need a calendar to know it’s mid-November. Instead, I can simply read the appearance and behavior of my classmates: bloodshot eyes, slouched shoulders, bursts of maniacal laughter and hysterical tears.

Not that I’m doing any better. Under the pressure to complete my final projects on time, I’m getting less sleep, eating more McDonalds, and spending most of my day gazing at my laptop screen. By the time I lie down to sleep, my eyes are buzzing from prolonged LCD exposure. To ensure I get out of my bed come morning, I set at least ten alarms on my iPhone.

It’s important to remember, as my English professor Jay Ruzesky likes to remind our ENG 315 class, that the work we do as university students is valuable and, when possible, we should try to enjoy ourselves. As a fourth-year creative writing and journalism student, I often get lost in the myriad of assignment deadlines and forget how lucky I am to study in the fields I cherish most.

While I’m probably not qualified to preach on this subject, self-care is important too. This semester, I’m learning to act on my body’s impulse to take a nap instead of my brain’s impulse to spend an extra couple hours editing an already-finished piece of writing. I’ve always been a perfectionist, but with a bit of extra sleep and rest, I find I am more productive (not to mention happier).

I also like to keep a sense of perspective to make myself feel better, like the fact there are no final exams in the Department of Creative Writing and Journalism. If I had final exams to prepare for in each of my five classes, there’s no telling how much more McDonalds I’d be eating, how much less sleep I’d be getting, and how many extra alarms I’d be setting on my iPhone.

Happy end-of-the-semester, friends.