As the upcoming academic semester approaches (now two days away), I can’t help but notice how much worse my body feels. Nervousness affects me in atypical ways — mostly subconscious and physiological. But it’s this same undercurrent of stress that can sometimes lead to outsized spending. I need to be careful during these periods.
Yesterday, I saw sweaty, dew-soaked windows of the frozen food aisle and thought, “This is a perfect reflection of my toiling stomach.” I was a young whippersnapper when I first realized I had lactose intolerance. Then there were strange “allergies,” the removal of certain food groups, and tests to see what was wrong with me.
The best answer that doctors ever gave me was that I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). This cantankerous medical condition wreaks havoc on my insides. I can feel food traveling through my system and doing battle with my intestines — harmony be damned. At the beginning and end of every semester, I have horrific flare-ups.
Like Drake’s recent single, life goes from 0 to 100 real quick when the semester starts. The world seems to enter hyperdrive, and I begin to notice significant changes:
- I spend less time in the mirror (good).
- I don’t floss as often (bad).
- My hair gets crazier (take it or leave it).
- I drink more coffee (probably exacerbating the hyper feeling).
- I pack lunches (good).
- I’m surrounded by people all the time (as an ambivert, a pleasure and challenge).
- Procrastination increases, as academic projects feel less important when compared to working with clients (ambivalent).
- I’m distracted by due dates (bad).
This semester will be the busiest schedule of my life, and I must trek all over the city to make it happen. I’ll be on the westside to eastside to southside of the city almost every day — and all by bike. The responsibilities and hours won’t cease for the next 3.5 months.
At the beginning of every year I panic, apply to/fantasize about other jobs, and think about whether I can handle it. My insides erupt and argue with me; screaming, “not again.” Despite these physical, emotional, and psychological challenges to come, life has never been more full.
I’m lucky to have incredible friends around me. They give me a positive energy and purpose. Likewise, I have this website, which is a wonderful distraction. I love being able to write to you all, save money together, and share our successes and failures. I paid off all my debt this year, and completely revamped my financial life. The stress of debt is no longer!
Graduate school is a challenge — every day — and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Good luck to all of you who are headed back to school!