Dear Sadie Zarkin,
I think I am going insane.
Being a freshman, I can’t know this for sure, as I’ve never quite experienced the degree of hell to which I’m currently subjecting myself during finals week in Art Foundation studies.
Sadie: Before I opened this computer, I had literally forgotten what year it was.
It has been 12 days since I have slept more than three hours in succession.
Last night, I fell asleep in a puddle of plaster. I nearly drowned.
Give it to me straight, Sadie. Have I finally lost it? Or is this normal? Is this terror merely adulthood?
The Horror, The Horror
Dear The Horror,
The first thing to do is remember not to panic. Generations of art students have been in exactly the same place you are right now and arrived on the other side only slightly worse for wear.
The most effective way to stay on top of all the things you need to do is write out a list. The tasks will seem a lot more manageable when you see them written down and they aren’t all consuming your mind at the same time.
What should be of greater concern than finishing all of your work on time, though, is your health and safety. Being so drowsy that you nearly drown in anything, especially plaster, is a serious problem. Make sure you factor time into your finals schedule for some solid chunks of sleep before you accidentally hot glue your hand to your face (or worse, someone else’s).
Not only will sleep help you make it through the day without being compared to a George-Romero-inspired zombie, but the work you produce will be of higher quality.
Stray away from cheap alternatives to sleep like energy drinks and caffeine pills; these can lead to heart-palpitating stress and the jitters which not only keep you from sleeping, but from focusing and functioning like a well-adjusted person. Remember, shaking uncontrollably makes it hard to draw well and using tools will become extremely dangerous.
When all else fails in this time of constant worry, keep in mind that this wave of work you are swimming in will recede in the next week or two. Then you will have a blissful month of break before next semester when you will be forced to do it all over again.