The Math and Poetry of Second Semester

I’ve written before about pseudo-psychology and the way the mind – or my mind, at least – skews my perception of events and information to make false patterns. This happens a lot when it comes to assignment season, or exam season, or other relatively small periods of time defined by a particular event. I find it surprising, then, that I experience second semester in a vastly different way than I do the first.

In first semester, I can’t even remember how many months are between September and December; the time between the first class and the first exam seems indefinite, as if the calendar’s been printed over too many pages to be of much use. September is – what, three or four weeks of classes? October is four, and so is November, but one of them has a break. Then December… do I count December? Second semester, though, is exactly twelve weeks, with a one-week break in February. Not only do I know exactly how long it is from start to finish, I also know exactly how far through the semester I am at any given point. At the end of January of last semester, I made this startling (grade 3-level) discovery:

Week 1: 1/12 of semester

Week 2: 1/6 of semester

Week 3: 1/4 of semester

Week 4: 1/3 of semester

Week 6: 1/2 of Semester

The first half of the semester seems to fly by, and with each passing week the end seems disproportionately nearer. You can go from being 1/12 done your studies to 1/6 in only one week! And that’s not all: call now, and we’ll also give you a free, limited time… you get the idea.

University can be intimidating and unpleasant. When people tell you how to cope, they tell you to think positive thoughts and focus on the things that make you happy. But sometimes, nothing makes you happy and everything seems awful. When that happens, focus on the one universal positive of negative experiences: this, too, shall pass. Pretty quickly, if you think about it.

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