I’d love nothing more than to report that I’m currently lounging on a beach chair. You know, with sun on my face, the breeze in my hair, all that jazz. Preferably reading a delectably trashy article about a delectably trashy celebrity as a means of giving my brain a break from the musings of very dead philosophers. (Kant, I’m looking at you.)
Instead, I’m soaking in some nonexistent rays from the comfort of Towson, Maryland. Don’t get me wrong; home definitely has its perks. I knew I would have the opportunity to catch up with friends, see some wonderful theatre, and eat fantastic food. But, before the week had even begun, I couldn’t help thinking that these reunions would be much sweeter in sunnier climes.
That’s because I was knee-deep in the “March Rut.” I know it sounds like a made-up term, and that’s because I made it up, but bear with me. March Rut is real.
Think about it rationally. January is over in about five minutes, since most of it falls within the beautiful realm of winter break and intersession. February comes and goes in a quick twenty-eight days. Optimism is in the air. Hooray for new beginnings! Three cheers for spring semester!
But then March happens. And suddenly you’ve got a paper due on the same day as the midterm that’s on the same day as that oral exam. Spring teases you for one sunny weekend, followed by the millionth winter storm, and you do NOT want to take any more cute snow pictures. You want to wear shorts, dangit. You zip up your snow boots with a growing resentment and stare accusingly at icicles. Even “Let It Go” loses a touch of its charm. (I still love you, Adela Dazeem.)
So it’s safe to say I was feeling the March Rut this year. In fact, I was a March Ebenezer Scrooge, even though I had little reason to be. I’m in love with my new sorority and the spring musical. And we all know my SAAB obsession will never die. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel overwhelmed every day of March thus far. My schedule went from having a decent amount of flexibility to utterly devoid of free time in the course of a weekend. I’d receive half-joking texts from my friends asking if I was still alive. To-go boxes replaced my role in our family dinners, and weekly movie nights were practically a thing of the past.
I was counting down the days to spring break like it was a week-long life raft. For the first time since coming to Hopkins, I felt like I needed a break. And that was a disheartening realization. Fall semester, I was the girl who finished every paper with plenty of time to spare, studied for exams weeks in advance, and time-managed the heck out of a happily-busy schedule. But this semester was a whole different story, and I let it get me down. I gave in to the dumb old March Rut.
Escape sounded like an extremely appealing solution to my troubles. I could jet off to some tropical island, kick back in a beach chair, read embarrassing tabloids. I was jealous of my friends who got to realize this fantasy. I knew that I would be staying home, with a tower of schoolwork and another six inches of snow to keep me company. I was excited for the promise of sleep, a precious commodity, and the chance to cozy up to family and friends. But I wanted the sandy beaches and warm sun. I figured the only way to banish March Rut was to leave it behind. Sorry, March Rut, I can’t hear you over THE FREAKING BAHAMAS.
But, like most protagonists who begin their stories with a foolishly pessimistic point of view, I was proven wrong very quickly. I spent my first weekend home doing exactly what I expected: catching up with friends, eating great food, and seeing wonderful theatre. We went back to the place that made us all friends in the first place (an under-18 community theatre called Children’s Playhouse of Maryland) and watched the newest crop of young talent rock our socks off. We were welcomed back with open arms. It was a beautiful reminder that, while most things change, the really important stuff stays the same.
And the week is far from over. My Mom is here to watch season three of Scandal with me, even though she’s seen it all before, and to tell me I look skinny, even though I don’t. My dad has a week of my favorite restaurants all planned out, and we’re picking them off one by one. My brother, who only shared one day of break with me before heading back to school, surprised me with Fractured Prune donuts, aka my favorite things in the universe.
They wanted to know all the details of my life, and I was happy to share. Getting the chance to talk about Alpha Phi, Carousel, and my classes helped me remember just how much I love what I’m doing at Hopkins. It’s surprisingly easy to forget that love when the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t in sight yet. But spending the week at home is allowing me to take a step back and look at my life through a fresher lens.
So for the first time in weeks, I’m pumped about the rest of the semester. I have so much to look forward to! It’s time to stop sulking and appreciate the awesome stuff that my future holds. Call me an over-achiever, but I think I’ve beaten the March Rut with plenty of March to spare. All it took was a combination of ten hours of sleep a night and a teeny mindset readjustment. Now I can’t wait to go back. Who needs palm trees or beach chairs or warm, tropical breezes? I’ve got half of a semester to enjoy. And spring really is just around the corner.