There are two points during the typical semester when I really feel overwhelmed and stressed out: the midpoint and finals week.
Since entering the program I haven't had to deal with midterm or final exams too much. My professors seem to really enjoy giving big projects instead. Just this week I had two due and I've got another paper due tomorrow and a science project due next week. All of this in addition to lesson planning for the two days each week I teach and prepping for the transition to the next grade level.
It's a barrel of fun over here, let me tell you!
I got home from class tonight just about thirty minutes ago and I am so exhausted that my eyeballs hurt. So tired that my shoulders creep up into this tense kind of shrug without me even realizing it. So stressed that I compulsively check my homework app to see if I forgot an assignment. I really don't like feeling this way.
What I do like is learning a great new way to inspire a love of writing in a student. I love finding fun activities to make a subject come alive for students, possibly for the first time. I love the pride in a kid's voice when they tell me they asked their mom to buy them a box of rigatoni because we used it in class during a math lesson on shapes and graphing and they wanted to show their brother what they learned. I live for lightbulb moments and successful mystery walkers and laughter from the reading corner.
It is really really REALLY hard to stay focused on all of these things I love when I am so tired that I'm not sure I can spell my own name, but I have to. I have come to the realization that the workload in this program is intentional. This struggle between finding time to get all the work done and being alert enough to enjoy it is not going to magically get easier after graduation. Somehow, my friends and I must find a way to convert small bits of classroom joy into an efficient fuel to get us through rough patches.
Until then, there's always chocolate and back rubs from a very understanding and encouraging husband. :)