Caught by surprise

Girl sitting on a pink suitcase in an airport

As someone that insists on doing everything according to my to-do list, a family emergency definitely wasn't what I had planned for in the middle of exam season.

It always has to be during exam time, doesn't it? School pressures never seem to be the only thing that bubble and surface at the end of the semseter. It suddenly seems like a lot of things beyond school creep up and catch me off guard. I can't help it-- all my focus is solely on my assignments worth 40% of my grade!

I had to suddenly travel back home to Melbourne for a family emergency a couple of weeks ago. I was so taken by surprise, and it's taken all this time for me to get back into my working mindset again. Planning ahead obviously has its benefits, but being so convinced of how something has to play out leaves no room for the unexpected. It's a lesson I'm still trying to teach myself time after time after time.

In amidst my whirlwind, I was able to apply for extensions on all my assignments. It took some weight off my shoulders, but I was still finding it hard to cope. I was away from my workspace, my normal everyday environment. It threw me so much that I was running on three hours sleep for a few days. It was killing me to have nothing familiar for me to distract myself from all the family stuff. Everything in itself was a distraction.

I had to be stern with myself. I told myself before falling asleep one night, "No to-do lists. No alarms. No pre-planned days. Just take them as they come." I have to say, the next morning was the most peaceful morning I'd had with everything that was going on. The sun was streaming in, my grandma's dog was snuggled into my side, my mum and grandma sat by me with a cup of coffee while we just talked the morning away, all while I was snuggled under three fluffy blankets (Thanks, frosty Melbourne).

My priorities get muddled too easily. When it comes to university, it's easy to say that my assignments come first. "Well yeah, no duh." But it's true! Especially when my emotions are a mess and things feel far beyond my control, I'll grab onto what I feel like I can control in the moment, which will usually be my grades. It clouds my judgement in making the right choice of what really is the most important thing in the moment.

Does this happen to you? Do your priorities run amuck when everything seems so out of control for you? Don't forget to stop and check in with yourself when you feel like you're losing your way. Reflect, realign, and regain your balance before heading back into the fray of exam season!

Tagged in What messes with your head, family, Exams