I survived September…barely. It wasn’t that it was busier than usual, it was as wild as Septembers generally are when new courses start and the plans I made in the summer are working there way out….or not working out at all. That wasn’t a surprise to me. I survived despite the craziness that was my summer and started out the school year in perhaps the most drained I have ever been.

It was not a fun summer, but I’ve had those before. The summer I did my comprehensive exams, the summer after my mom passed away is an absolute blur, the summer we built a house that wasn’t ready on time so we lived with my parents in law for 5 weeks and then moved on labour day weekend.

Instead, this summer was the summer of discipline. Work was a normal kind of busy, but a little more pressure due to some new course design that was time-consuming and mentally exhausting. But more so, summer was tough because I took on a side project that took up every night and every weekend. There was no book reading, netflix watching, or any TV for that matter, no puzzles, no being relaxed at night. Despite saying a few times…”what have I done???” I am glad that I took on the project and that the hard work will pay off in a few years. Because although relaxing would have been great, I now feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment.

So if you are a student reading this, I want you to be encouraged that even though you are in a current state of perhaps being overwhelmed and are maybe thinking…”what have I done?”… that this time as an undergraduate or graduate student will all pay off. If not directly resulting in a career right away, it will in the sense of feeling accomplished and satisfied that you were able to do what you set your mind on. I feel that sense every time I finish a tough workout, or when I put in a long day at work and I hobble to my car completely mentally exhausted, when I finish a lecture or even serve turkey at our extended family Thanksgiving dinner. Not always were the actual doing of the tasks pretty…there have been many ugly tears in the midst of the work, but the end was always worth it. Take heart and keep at it, you’ll be glad that you did.

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