Dead Week

Saturday, May 1st, 2010 at 9:05 am

At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the week before finals is “Dead Week”–the week in which professors are not supposed to give homework or tests unless previously scheduled. Of course, this just means that the professors are careful to schedule homework and tests in advance.

My modus operadi throughout my undergraduate career was to get sick every dead week. I’m moderately (Hah!) Type A and tend to work myself rather hard over the course of the semester. By dead week, my body has had enough of the stress I’ve inflicted upon it and it simply gives in. I stay in bed for a week, wishing I were dead–and then rise again on the seventh day to take finals.

Then came grad school.

I don’t remember whether I got sick in my first few semesters of grad school. It all begins to blur in my mind. But I do know what this semester’s dead week has looked like–and I definitely had no time to get sick.

I TA for a class of 200 students–and we gave them an assignment due last Thursday. So I’ve been frantically grading all week. Then on Thursday, I administered a lab practical to my other (much smaller) class. My supervisor and I sat down right away to get the practicals graded.

I had a job interview on Tuesday (I didn’t get the job–which I’m feeling ambivalent about.) I had a bit of an emotional shock on Wednesday. I had a major physical shock on Thursday. And yesterday, I baked a cake.

Actually, it wasn’t just a cake. It was a cake plus several dozen cupcakes. My sister is throwing a bridal shower for our sister-in-law-to-be today, and she’d asked me to prepare the cake. No problem. But our family…well, we have a rather large family. And even with half of the invitees not being able to show up, we’re still expecting 35 or so at the shower. So LOTS of cake making and decoration was in order.

My sister and our good friend Mary are in town for the shower–so I spent some time with them last night.

And I woke up today with an allergy-stuffed nose, a pressure-related headache, a heaviness in my fingers and toes that indicates dehydration, and a realization that I’d made it through dead week without getting sick.

Let’s hope I can do the same for finals week.


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