Breakdown Quarter: You’re Not Alone

Posted by at 1:13PM
Spring Quarter, as illustrated by Hyperbole and a Half

Spring Quarter, as illustrated by Hyperbole and a Half

This morning I tried to take a sip of my room key while attempting to open my door with an iced mocha.  Sleep deprivation has seized another victim.  Wasn’t this supposed to be an easy quarter?

Spring quarter is powerfully portrayed in the Stanford mental mythology as a time of never-ending frolicking.  Admit Weekend and NSO make it particularly compelling.  Life at Stanford is an endless series of fountain-hopping and suntanning, right?

But spring quarter rolls around and shatters that illusion.  Spring break wasn’t long enough, the 9.5 week quarter is a tease, and your professors interpret “Dead Day” to mean “perfect day to schedule all your final presentations.”

Sigh.  It’s enough to make you wanna pull a John Mayer and grow your hair out and wear silly hats.

Stop this train – I want to get off and go home again
I can’t take the speed it’s moving in
I know I can’t
But honestly won’t someone stop this train?

It doesn’t help that we’re a bunch of overachievers.  Admitting to stress or a sense of inadequacy is too often equated to failure, and we bottle it up, rather than discussing it constructively with our peers.  We become victims of our own perfectionism.  You don’t want to be the first one on the dance floor when it comes to expressing vulnerabilities.

Kudos goes to the outreach programs of recent months and years.  Rubber ducky in the Claw people“talk to me about anything” people, and the Bridge Peer Counseling: I salute you.  But there aren’t enough of you.  The more we discuss this problem, the more people will feel motivated to do something about their stress.

So here’s the good news: if you’re stressed, you’re not alone.  When we’re honest about it, we’re all a bunch of Stanford ducks, paddling ferociously.

The great news?  You can do this.  You’ve done it before, you’ll do it again, and if you open up to your friends about how you’re feeling, you’ll find a vast network of cheerleaders rooting for you.  They love you, they care about you, and whether or not you do, they believe in you.  To quote famed Greek philosopher Zacharius Efronicus:  “we’re all in this together.”

By next Wednesday, you’ll be this guy:


Go rock those finals, Stanford.  You got this.



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