Wow, it really is that time of the semester. Every friend I’ve talked to in the last week has expressed the same sentiment: though we just got back from a break, we’re ready for another.

Students at Georgetown have many explanations for why we’re all so tired of our obligations, and they all seem to rely on external forces. It’s too cold and rainy to be motivated, or it’s too nice outside to crack open a book. There’s the break coming up, there are residual effects of that break we just had or maybe it’s that we haven’t had a break in a while. When I listen hard, I find that every time seems to be “that time” of the semester.

I’m coming to realize that the cause for all the exhaustion is actually internal. The stress that students put on themselves — the same stress that allowed them to get to Georgetown in the first place — is causing them to burn the proverbial candle from every angle. Friends expect us to go out Wednesday through Sunday, professors each assign two hours of work a night and parents won’t stop pressuring us about summer internships. It’s impossible to do it all, and it’s tiring to try.

Last semester I worked hard and did well in my classes. So well, in fact, that for the first time in my Georgetown career, my GPA is above the threshold I set for myself at the beginning of freshman year. I had always held this goal as an abstract destination, and once I got here I realized I didn’t have a plan. This semester, I’ve been confronted with an ultimatum: progress or plateau? Do I set the bar even higher, or give myself a little breathing room? Well, for the first time in my life, I’m aiming for a B in some of my classes. As a side note, if you are my professor, it’s not your class I’m referring to. I love your class, you’re an inspiration and I just finished next week’s readings early.

As it turns out, there is some virtue in stagnation, in saying that I don’t feel like spending an extra few hours a week to tack another tenth of a decimal point onto my GPA. Am I missing out on valuable learning? Yes, I’m not absorbing everything in the classroom, but I’ve decided that this learning comes at too high a cost; I do not want to sacrifice my other activities. Will my grades be lower this semester? Absolutely. But I won’t be disappointed with myself at all. There is, after all, a reason we work hard now, a reason that many of us at Georgetown consistently fail to remember: so we can relax later. And when I think about it, learning to relax is far more important to my well-being than anything I’ve learned in my classes.

This is not to say that I’m not working. I’ve pulled many late nights this semester, and I’m not blowing off any major assignments. Although it’s tempting to forget about class entirely, I think that’s as large a mistake as ignoring my social life. I’m working to find a balance, and I understand that this balance is rarely fixed. Right now, the pendulum has swung away from schoolwork, but I bet that once the end of the semester approaches the balance will have tipped once again and you’ll find me up late in the library like I am every finals season. In accepting my agency in the situation, I’m growing as a person. Maybe this is what it means to be an adult: thinking hard about what things to value rather than just accepting every task — and taking responsibility for the consequences.

When I think about the value of a Georgetown degree, it comes down to prioritizing. I expect myself to balance social interaction, academic development, extracurricular activities, a paid job, “me” time and hopefully a few hours of sleep a night. And I’d be able to do all of this, if a day suddenly lasted 30 hours, although something tells me that I would still manage to fill that extra time with more stuff.

Albert Eisenberg is sophomore in the College. He can be reached at JUST DOING ME appears every other Friday.

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