Behold, a Creature of Routine

It’s that time of year again when the phrase “dead week” can be read in so many different ways. While I wish “week” could be read to mean a duration of time that lasts longer than seven days, I do not possess such English major witchcraft. Sorry, all.

On Big Game bonfire night, I find my happy place in front of my computer and a stack of books.
On Big Game bonfire night 2014, I find my happy place in front of my computer and a stack of books. | Photo by Courtney Cheng

On the other hand, “dead” offers lots of happy alternatives:

“dead,” n. (more commonly known as “dead week”)

1. a lack of scheduled classes and academic activities aside from optional review sessions

2. an occasionally overwhelming number of social obligations for every extra curricular on campus, as well as some social outings that you schedule for your own mental sanity

3. you, from lack of sleep and many hours of studying

At this current moment, “dead” most accurately reads as definition 3, which connotes: a) My desire to stress bake is at an all time high, b) My desire to stress clean is not too far behind, but c) I have no inclination to move from my current spot because I’ve created a nice, warm space from sitting here for so long.

Don't we all wish that were real right now?
Don’t we all wish that were real right now? | Photo by Courtney Cheng

Incredible amounts of sarcasm aside, dead week is, perhaps, the best and worst week of the semester. Hear me out.

Studying for 3-hour finals is not going to enjoyable, even if you stare at it upside down, between your legs, eyes squinted, head cocked to the right. The pressure that rides on your shoulder with each exam is simply ridiculous, and cannot be good for anyone’s mental or physical health (Stress breakouts anyone? *raises hand*) We are on the same page there.

The reason why I think it could be, arguably, the best week, is the immense freedom I get over my own time.

I am a person who holds onto her routine like a lifeline, and my list of routine may or may not include “planning my meals out ahead of time so I can actively look forward them throughout the day” and “scheduling my day hour by hour so I can get everything I want done without freaking out like a headless chicken.” You don’t want to see the Notes app on my phone or computer. You would undoubtedly think I’ve gone up the wall, onto the ceiling, and back down the other wall with insanity.

Bedroom wall pictured here for reference. | Photo by Courtney Cheng

The lack of classes I have to attend during dead week gives me so much freedom to create a routine that works for me, and even—makes me happy, particularly if that includes making dinner or going to the gym at 8:30am. It gives me luxury to spend hours in my cozy corners (Thanks again for the new bookcase in Graham’s apartment, Effie. It has now become a part of “my” working corner.) where the space is arranged perfectly to my liking.

I actually like learning the material we cover in my classes, so sitting for hours in the same warm spot on the same old chair day in and day out (between gym sessions and walks, don’t worry) is genuinely enjoyable. Dead week is one of the few weeks of my time in Berkeley when I can properly indulge in personal routines that are actually crafted to my liking, and not just constructed around my mandated class schedule.

Child who wanted to collect the toys from cereal boxes, or college student who was simply bored during breakfast?
Don’t worry, the white car is Power Rangers themed. | Photo by Courtney Cheng

Now, if only I wasn’t going to be graded on what I was studying. Because let’s be honest, there is a not-so-inner child within this college student who wouldn’t mind alternating that studying with decorating Lego cars and finding Spanish versions of the once-five-piece One Direction (#onceafan #alwaysafan #doesn’tmeanI’mnotupset) on YouTube.

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