I tell you that these weeks have reeked to high heaven with the smell of enriching difficulty. I have broken a laptop, duplicated lost assignments from memory, put longer hours than expected into things that most certainly seemed simple, and fallen into bed near every evening only to be kept awake by unrealized thoughts trampled over in the rush. I have had (they tell me) a quintessentially end-of-semester week. Though no prior experience have I with such things, I can tell you that I have not been wanting for anything except rest.
I have not been alone in this, no indeed. In this time for extraordinary effort, I am reminded of two pristine schools of thought.
First, the school of naps, or schola conquietarum.
Napping, the sage art of the burgeoning academic, requires three wise elements.
- The napper must give himself fully to the activity of napping. If they are distracted by phone, or beholden to some very-soon task, how would they be able to fully rest?
- The napper must show moderation in napping. They must not nap too often, or too little. Further, they mustn't nap too long, lest they grow groggy, or too short, lest they not rest at all.
- Finally, the napper must be brave! A true guru of napping knows no place off-limits to his ambition of rest. A true practitioner of schola conquietarum may even pursue unorthodox places to sleep, that it may deepen his restoration.
The other school I feel with great strength in this challenging time of the semester is that of ante commemoratum. In a time like this, in all the thickness of arranging and developing and organizing for success, there is no reason to think that any of what is occurring now will be well understood. Recognizing this gives freedom to act within the context of uncertainty, before being altogether mindful of what is happening.
Such a time in which it is demanded of each to go quickly to every task, without abandon and by means of the greatest focus, that time is when it is most important to release yourself into the ease of your own training, the preparation of months for future tests, and the permission to nap, and to not fully understand. These things, I think, resound with simplicity in this time before I am able to remember, commemorate, and examine those things I rapidly transit.
The end of a semester is truly a rocket, but we all shall be in orbit soon to gaze upon all that we have passed behind.