I think, at this point in my college career (i.e., semester 10 of 12), I’m just burned out to all hell. I understand what I need to do. It’s crystal clear. But I lack the stamina to get it done. In the context of a semester, that snowballs. Fast.
And so I’m starting to see how important my senior capstone project is going to be. It is a culmination of so many things. Past knowledge of physics. New knowledge of physics I need to learn on my own. Time management. Project management. Creation. Intellectual ability. Drive. Etc. I’m not saying that an A+ capstone project would make up for poor grades (of which, I don’t think I have; my GPA >> 3.0 even if it’s not where I’d like it to be). But in the context of being in my 6th year of undergrad come the fall semester, it might be a great way to show that I am capable of doing great work, despite the burnout.
And so I’m looking forward to my inevitable gap year. I need one in order to make sure I take all the necessary courses for the GRE before I sit the exam. But even if I have an internship in that year rather than school, I think it’ll be the kind of break I need.
I mean, really. It will be so damn nice to be in an environment where the stress of grades is not in my face. The focus shifted to doing good work rather than getting good grades. A subtle yet important distinction to make in a society where people are able to, in some circumstances, get good grades without doing good work. The opportunity to focus rather than dividing my attention between multiple classes plus extracurriculars and work each semester. I think that’s where I’ll thrive.
Of course, I’m not there yet. So the grass is probably greener. But it gives me something to look forward to.