A love letter to college students during final exams.
I’ve been there.
Books piled up in a stack beside you. Nodding off to the glow of the computer screen. Neon strips of highlighter scraped across your forehead, leftover not from some raging highlighter party the night before but rather the all-nighter spent spooning Shakespeare term papers and mind-rattling interpretations of Samuel Beckett’s best works.
Some of you are halfway through. Knees sunk deep in the muds of history power points and audio projects. Stammering in the mirror before you give that final speech in class tomorrow. Still muddling through the differences between "el" & "usted." Nosotros & Vosotros.
Some of you are stocking up on caffeine fixes and 5-Hour Energy drinks before the storm hits. A storm of finals worth 60% of your grade. 12-pagers that will have you crawling into the light of the morning, turning your study guide into a white flag to wave and surrender.
You’ll make it. I know it.
I can promise you there are lights & lanterns & cold winter nights cuddled by the fire at the end of your tunnel. Perhaps it won’t be the grace of a love letter but the grace you’ll gain from the sound of the last book shutting. The sound of the last pages shuffling out from the printer and into your professor’s mailbox.
Remember to breathe. To eat. To sleep, if you can. Curl up on the couch in the campus center if that’s what it takes. Blast Holiday music while you slug a gingerbread latte you so deserve. And, on the nights where 1am comes quicker than shoppers on Black Friday, be the one to text your friends, “Diner. 2am. I’ll drive.”
I still keep that memory always. Every year I pull that memory out like I do the ugly holiday sweaters. It is a memory I didn't know I would miss at the time. A stack of pancakes. An open laptop. Hot chocolate with whipped cream dribbling from the side. All of us laughing, not knowing at the time that yes, yes, we were going to miss this one day soon.
It’s hard to believe that right now as you struggle to swallow every prefix in the dictionary or every literary term you’ll need to dissect that Emily D. poem tomorrow but the closeness of friends in one place, seeing of the sun coming up, living in sweatpants for at least two weeks... you’ll miss these things when they are gone. Life will move faster. You'll graduate. All of this will look different a few years from now and you'll find yourself wanting to grab the memories back, hold onto the moments a little while longer.
So pick your chin up from the computer. Stand up and stretch. Take a break to call your friend and see how studying is going. If there is someone beside you, smile at them… propose a coffee break… treat them.
Get a fake candle, lay a blanket out in the middle of the floor, and make boisterous claims that a study executed at 800 universities across the country proved that copious amounts of Elf quotes, cuddling, and snow angels increased final grades by a whopping 73% percent.
Let Beethoven trickle through the iHome. Take a Target break. Buy reindeer ears for no good reason. Drive home the long way just to see the lights and feel the unspeakable yet fleeting peace of this time of year. Stop the car. Put it in park. And just sit quietly for a minute– no texts to keep you, no Instagram to push you away from the moment at hand. Forget for a moment that your vocabulary is plumped with Finals & Responsibility & Deadlines & Due Dates. Just laugh & sing & dare to miss the moments that will be gone tomorrow.
Remember: It is a book. It is a test. It is a paper. That’s it. That’s all. You’ll make it.
Myself, this love letter, and anyone who has ever been there before…we are pulling for you. We know you'll be just fine.