Editorial: Fast approaching due date encourages new rules for study

by Rachel Engel

October is going to be a busy month for me. I have a 15-page paper due for one class, an oral presentation that needs to be delivered for another, several photography projects to complete, and I have to give birth on the fifth.

Talk about a packed schedule.

I planned it this way, of course. After five years of marriage, my husband and I were ready to have a baby, and due to some family history of fertility complications, didn’t want to wait until I graduated.

As it turns out, my body is very receptive to having things attach and grow inside of it, so here I am, nine months pregnant, taking a full course load, and waiting to graduate in May.

It’s been interesting, being pregnant and taking classes, even though they are online. For one thing, over the months, my stomach keeps moving me further and further away from the keyboard on my desktop computer, and laptops are out of the question, as I no longer have an actual lap. It’s there, somewhere, I hope.

Also, instead of solely focusing on schoolwork as I have for the last three years, my mind is full of worries of if I have everything ready for the baby: Does she have enough clothes (enough to not have to repeat an outfit for the next four years, my husband tells me)? Did I install the car seat correctly?

It’s a nice change of pace after having random APA style rules and chemistry formulas rolling through your mind, but baby worries are a little scarier.

My plan is to have all of my major papers and projects completed before she arrives, so that the sleep deprivation will only make it difficult to finish the smaller assignments, and won’t mess with the bigger ones.

However, this strategy conflicts with the way I’ve been running my school life for the last 22 years, which is to procrastinate until I can procrastinate no more.

I suppose it’s time to start instilling some rules in myself, so that when I try to lay down the same rules for her down the road, I don’t feel like too much of a hypocrite.

Rule number one: Don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today. Instead of killing time watching obscure movies on Netflix, perhaps I could do something productive. One half of my brain is telling me that these next few weeks could be the last time I have a spare moment to myself for the next 18 years, so take advantage. The other half is warning that I will regret not using this uninterrupted time to get ahead in my classes. It’s time to be a grown-up (yikes) and do the responsible, parental-like thing.

Rule number two: You can sleep when you’re dead. So what if in the very near future, I will be subjected to what can only be described as torturous two-hour naps that are supposed to masquerade as sleep? Education is a top priority and this baby is part of a life dream. Both are torturous at times, but for the most part are extremely gratifying. Again, I can sleep when I’m dead.

Rule number three: Always take a jacket; you never know when you’re going to be cold. Just something my grandmother always said, and I wanted to pass it along.

I sometimes feel like I wanted to see how crazy I could make myself by taking a full load of classes, and caring for a newborn at the same time, and other times I feel extremely accomplished and productive for continuing on with life as if this is just what you do. I think reality falls somewhere in between.

So, in the next two weeks when I’m close to falling asleep on my computer and drooling into my keyboard, or when I’m holding a bottle for her and at the same time attempting to type a stimulating research paper on the patterns of verbal aggressiveness, I will do my best to remember my rules, put on a jacket, and keep going.

I look forward to meeting you, Sydney Marie. We’re going to enjoy this semester together.

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