Hi Gaels, happy week before Reading Week (thank goodness)!

I have not been thriving these last couple of weeks. I have merely been surviving. Even if I wanted to cry, I don’t think I have the time to; I just have too many other things that must be done before I waste the water I drink (which I have to remember to do) in tears.

It’s a bit difficult to sit down and reflect on the past couple weeks without worrying that I should be doing other things: studying, homework, other extracurricular work, etc. I’m even writing this blog during one of my lectures.

“During university, the things you remember the most aren’t going to be hours spent on assignments, studying or homework. It’s going to be the time at clubs, competitions, and other extracurricular activities": During the last few weeks, this thought has crossed my mind more than ever before. I say it to myself and my friends when it seems like we’re neglecting school to do other things. It’s true that most memories made aren’t going to be academic-related. The fact that the thought has recurred so frequently this semester is both a blessing and a curse.

It’s a blessing because I am making memories. Attending chess club, winning a hackathon prize, going out for a birthday dinner, having fun at a networking event, even getting interviewed for Maclean’s! These are all things that I enjoy and make me, well, me.

But it’s equally a curse because, academically, this semester’s content has been really difficult. Between all the extracurricular activities and academic work, I am so busy. And if I had time to be, I would be sad, too. Because I wish school wasn’t this hard and I could just focus on making memories without worrying about passing a class.

Truthfully, there’s not much I can do except to push through, taking occasional breaks where I can, and then I can allocate a day during Reading Week to relax completely. Hopefully that’s the day I go to the spa because then I can be a little sad as I relax. If you’re feeling stressed and you’re not sure you can handle things, please reach out to Student Wellness Services. They’re there to help, and they even offer access to 24/7 mental health support.

So, now what do I do? That’s a great question. Let’s see what we have on hand:


I know what I have to do: homework, review sessions, and exam prep for several courses; a photoshoot; write this blog (due yesterday!)


Depending on how I’m feeling, I might have to say goodbye to chess club and intramurals this week to focus on my assignments and midterms. That’s the curse of Week 6 of semester.


I always forget how important booking study rooms is until I walk into the ILC or Apple Lounge and it’s packed and loud. It seems like everywhere always has an abundance of people, which makes it difficult to concentrate. That begs the question: why hasn’t Queen’s labelled separate areas as “silent,” “whisper,” and “talk”? Ranting aside, having a quiet study area is crucial for me when doing homework and studying, and so I will be maximizing my room booking over the next week.

I feel like as a SASS blogger, someone who literally writes about academic successes, I should have some strategy or hack to help me get through this wildly difficult period. Perhaps I should recognize something I did wrong to land me in this situation. But I don’t think I did anything terribly wrong, or drastically different from last semester.

Maybe I took on too many extracurricular activities or focused on one course too much. There are too many variables to consider and it’s hard to come up with the time to be introspective. (Spa to-do list: be sad, relax, and be introspective). Or maybe it’s because I have 3 midterms and 3 assignments in the span of 9 days. Maybe it’s not me, it’s them.

My reflection begs the question: if I could go back in time and change something, what would I change? So far, nothing. Maybe skip the volleyball game that my team lost, but other than that, everything I did outside of school was meaningful to me. And everything I did in school, like studying and homework, wasn’t outstandingly terrible either.

In the grand scheme of things, it is midterm season and this entire blog might have just consisted of me complaining and trying to figure out the thoughts in my head, but hey, in five years all of these emotions will just be a blur.

And maybe this will comfort you too – difficult weeks are temporary, and as long as we push through and keep chugging along, good weeks will come and the difficult weeks will be forgotten. Just remember: if you need help, just ask. Ask your friends. Ask your professors. Ask Wellness Services. Ask SASS. We’ve got you.

Until next time,

- Liyi

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