Geetanjali Kaur









By Geetanjali Kaur

Pause. Breathe. Resume.

7 weeks down Hilary and I am convinced why they call it Hell-ary. The term is a constant assault on the senses. As I write this post, my planner stares at me with reminders of 9 assignments that turn in the next four weeks. No longer can I use stunts from my undergrad days where I dunk in copious amount of caffeine a night before the deadline to pull an all nighter and manage to turn in my submissions on time.

We got our marks for three core courses from Michaelmas, including the GOTO module. Pleased to find out that I managed a distinction in two. Unless you’re someone who’s rigorously aiming for the Dean’s list, a reasonable amount of effort and preparation will ensure a decent performance in the subjects. Oxford average is around 62, and while reaching the distinction mark of 70 needs extra hard work, 50 or less means below the passing threshold. Keeping regular with the lectures and timely submissions are good enough to keep one afloat, especially for those working on their startups or with the careers team to land their dream job. One classmate put it brilliantly for me over dinner, this program is like a treadmill – you need to keep up with the pace else it doesn’t take much to fall off the grid.

The course is intense, and there are just so many interesting events and activities happening all the time in the school and outside, that it is impossible not to fret on what you’re missing out on at any given moment. It is easy to slip into the abyss of being at a place and wanting to be at 5 other places that you’d rather be. FOMO is a real thing.

I often find myself in situations where it gets overwhelming for me to prioritise my tasks and plan my schedule. I have begun to relentlessly use a pocket dairy for jotting down every single thing that I need to do and calendar to block time for any activity that I know is happening around me. Going back to them every now and then helps me plan my day ahead and also reflect on what all I have done so far.

All said and done, it is essential to keep reminding oneself that there is much more to this one year at the city of dreaming spires than worrying about exams and assignments and jobs and never ending social events. When the stress seems to be piling up and you see yourself slowly yielding to the pressure, pause and focus on the moment you are in and not the ones you’re missing. Realise that you cannot do everything and every one around you is scrambling through the same, if you look beyond their apparent comfortably floating selves.

I make it a point to take one hour out every Sunday for my yoga sessions, where I am able to switch off from all the chaos around me and declutter my head. It helps me to bring my focus back to the moment I am in and concentrate on breath, which is a liberating feeling.

Find that one activity, whatever it may be, that helps you to pause breathe and recharge before you get back to prepare for the next Finance lecture….or the leadership paper…..or the end-of-term bop! Realise and accept that no matter how well you plan your schedule, you cannot do everything. So by all means, don’t forget to breathe!

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