Community Spotlight - Autumn, Midterms, and Managing It All

Fri, 2017/10/06


The sun-dried leaves cascade down, pumpkins are carved out, and looming midterms make themselves known with a vengeance as this autumn season settles in on Illinois Tech's campus. Students rejoice as fall fashion makes its long-awaited return, drawing sweatshirt-lovers out in full force from 31st to 35th streets. Flannel and fleece are finally acceptable to wear, as the t-shirts and swim trunks of North Avenue Beach trips are packed away until next summer. Hungry students cannot walk 15 meters at Roosevelt Station without being offered pumpkin spice everything – from lattes to spreads to donuts to even Pop-Tarts – much to this writer’s delight. Even with the nip of winter beginning to make itself known, the city of Chicago hangs on with one final month as if demanding “not yet,” filling itself with the sights and smells of chilled riverside walks, Oktoberfest celebrations, and playoff baseball in one of the best times the city has to offer.

Embracing this amazing season also comes with its own implications on-campus – that summertime, carefree air is long gone. Finished are the trips of Welcome Week, of taking off for Chinatown without a thought of essays or stressful TAs on the mind. It comes with the tragedy of spending more time studying – solo in the library – and less time with friends. Though unfortunate, it’s a fact. Fall sports are peaking as athletes prepare themselves for the big meets of the season, or even thoughts of postseasons, as winter and spring sports begin hitting their strides, early morning practices rearing their exhausting heads for both. Students across campus settle in for work, for better or worse.

Fall on campus means that students are going to be stressed and distressed – it means inevitable periods of exhaustion and tiredness, midterms and melancholy – but it’s also the time of the year when campus starts coming together. Autumn hardships give students the chance to see who sticks around as classes and obligations begin piling on. The people who stay, through their own concerns and stresses, are really looking out for you. Make sure you appreciate them too, because they will be the ones with you through thick and thin. Everybody on campus is going to need people like that sooner or later.

Autumn is that time of year when, as the semester settles, you truly being to see what you’re made of. What extracurriculars stick, or which sports, houses, clubs, or projects do you still find yourself passionate about some 6-weeks later? How motivated are you, or what actually drives you through those 8:35 a.m. classes? How willing are you to work on areas where you do need work, to talk through those problems? Are you actually cut out for that field or medicine track or big credit transfer? As self-doubt and paranoia might begin to rear its ugly head, you may even ask yourself questions like “what am I even doing here?

But no matter the answers to those questions, no matter what you learn about yourself as the autumn season crescendos, just know that your friends and the systems in-place on campus have your back. Your friends in the residence hall, your clubs, your classes, the counselors, and so many more people than you might think all believe in you. This is the time of the year when campus starts to come together, if not by choice then by necessity. As this semester’s workload ramps up, we all need to have each other’s backs, or at least somebody’s, for this community to work. So believe in this community, believe in others, and believe in yourselves, because I know that I do.

Go Hawks.