Operation: relax was a great success. Spending a week away from my books has made all the difference in the world and I’m feeling much more capable of tackling the things that I left behind in Boston.
Unfortunately, getting back into my studying groove is proving more difficult than I had anticipated. While I know that I couldn’t have maintained the pace I had achieved when I left, coaxing myself back up to running speed is not easy.
I also have found that taking a week away has done scary things to my sense of information retention. I’m reasonably sure the information is still in there, just occluded in a way it hadn’t been when I left the Northeast. I have to reach around the pleasant cloud of vacation to turn up the things that I need on any given occasion and that, my friends, is rather startling given the amount of effort I put into putting those select facts into my brain.
In addition, it seems I’ve brought the Florida weather back with me. While it was still pleasantly autumn upon my departure, it now seems to be full-blown summer. This makes my life slightly more difficult as while my apartment is many wonderful things, air-conditioned is not one of them.
In summary, while I know I needed the break and I am absolutely assured that it did wonderful things to my mental (and physical!) well being, it’s definitely wrecked some havoc on my studying habits.
Let’s go back to the marathon training metaphor I used earlier this summer. Taking a
week off from any intensive training will give you time to relax and recuperate, but there is some inevitable back-slide upon your return. I’m just feeling all kinds of sore from my workouts since my mind, over the course of the past week, hasn’t been as rigorously worked.
It is sometimes important to recognize that we are not machines. Though the comps-study process is a great deal about becoming a sort of professional juggernaut, at some point we need to recognize and yield to our humanity. Slowly working back up to break-neck speed after some time off is one of those things. Actually taking time off is another.
I had promised myself that I would be as gentle as possible with my study habits while simultaneously pushing myself to do as much as I had to/could. These goals, while they seem antithetical, are actually really important to maintaining both sanity and work/life balance. In order to prevent myself from being anxious about all the things I’m not learning, I need to push hard. In order to maintain my mental well-being and not turn into some kind of Gollum creature clutching books to my chest and muttering about French Neoclassicism, I need to preserve some semblance of equilibrium. So without moving into the land of unrealistic expectations, this antithesis is just something I have to balance.
And on that note, I’m going to stop procrastinating and get to reviewing Medieval Europe. If I do well today, which I should, tomorrow opens up early Modern to study and, since that means some quality time with my man Will, if I can’t get excited about that I should probably just quite now.