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Sometimes, the sky is falling. Sometimes, we’re drowning in this program, and I mean really drowning in all of the papers. This feeling is amplified in summer classes — normally having fourteen weeks in a semester, a summer class is a whirlwind of fourteen weeks condensed into a mere six — it’s a student’s nightmare, it’s a professor’s nightmare, and it’s a hard spot to come up for air in.

I remember feeling overwhelmed when I first joined the program. I didn’t understand all the buzzwords, I didn’t know what was acceptable in writing and what wasn’t, heck, I didn’t even know APA format well enough to get by without having to have a program help me do it. But here I am — almost a year later — and I finally feel like I’ve got my head on straight in this program. Do not misunderstand: I still feel like everything is on fire, but I’m wise enough now to know that the incendiary will cease, and the world will calm down. A lot of weight is consistently placed on our shoulders, waiting to fracture our beings, but you will get through it. It doesn’t feel like it now, with everything weighing down on you and attempting to put out small fires as you go, or attempting to catch small air bubbles as you trek along in your journey (whichever analogy you’ve preferred the most here), but I guarantee you that you will gain your footing. You will find your way, and you will not drown: remember that no one will let you. Remember the importance of collaboration; that’s not just about lesson planning and getting ideas, that also encompasses moral and emotional support. Remember you have people that are going through the same trials, or you have been who have endured them who are more than willing to be your supports in your times of trouble. Utilize every resource you have to keep yourself afloat. Use all of the anti-firepower you have to stop the fires from burning and spreading so swiftly. It will take time to get used to this, and it certainly won’t happen overnight, but for now, remain calm, keep learning, and enjoy the ride.

At the end of it all, reflect. Reflect on what you’ve done, because you sure don’t have the time right now, but it’s so important to understand why you did the little things, the assignments, the critical claims, what have you. It doesn’t matter which assignment you start with in your reflection: just start. Understand your thought processes as you go back and revisit them: they tell you so much about yourself. Above all, have fun in this program — do not let the pressure change you as a person. You will do great things; you’ve just got to get through this one little mountain in your education.

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