Exams and Vacation

Okay, so this post is really late. You can thank my computer’s run-in with soy sauce for that (I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true!). Now that my computer is working again, here you go.

One of the perks to being a college student is that you’re finished with school in early May. The downside of that is that everything stressful is thrown at you at once. What could possibly make writing 25 pages of final essays and an exam worse? The fact that everything needs to be done a week earlier because you’re going on vacation the week everything is due, that’s what. You thought I was going to say having RA makes it worse, right? Well, that played a roll too, but that comes later.

I thought I handled the stress of my crazy, self-inflicted deadlines pretty well. I was going on a road trip with my friends for a week, and I didn’t want to have to work while on vacation. So, even though I had deadlines that extended into the second week of May, I had everything done by April 30th. While I felt mentally accomplished, my body was pretty run down from the stress. So this is where the RA comes in.

We left New Jersey on Saturday for an 8 day trip through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Our road trip required a lot of walking and many hours of sitting in a car with few breaks. Between the fatigue the stress caused, mixed with the fatigue and pain of being on the trip, I was pretty miserable. I enjoyed all of the sites we saw and the laughs we had, but by day 6, I was in agony. I couldn’t find a comfortable position to sit in during our 6 hour drive from Nashville to Knoxville. The bottoms of my feet were on fire and I was walking with a limp from the knee inflammation. And then of course, I was wearing my beloved sunglasses at night and gasping for breath because my lungs were inflamed. Of course, my friends did whatever they could to make me comfortable. One thankfully was willing to open my prescription bottles for me twice a day (stupid childproof lids that require a twisting motion). Even now, after being home for a week, I’m still feeling the effects of my flare.

The lesson here: reduce the stress as much as possible, and rest as often as you can. I was probably an idiot for leaving so close to the end of school, but at the same time I realize that I can’t let RA or the possibility of working really hard for a week put my life on hold. And while you may need to do a lot of walking on vacation, it’s also okay to say no every once in awhile and sit on a bench while the others climb a tower or go shopping for souvenirs. You just need to know when to stop yourself and not overdo it to the point where you can’t enjoy yourself anymore. Going on vacation helps me feel young and normal, and even with a flare, I want to do my best to keep up with the people around me. I know I can’t do the same things they do, but it doesn’t mean I can’t be a part of their fun either. Just make sure you travel with people who understand your needs and won’t get mad at you if you can’t keep their pace or need to go to bed early.

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