The Rise of the Band Geeks, Episode 26: Why Are We Still Here? Just to Suffer?

Plink.  Plink.  Plink.   Behind the wall in Hal’s dorm room, water dripped.  No matter how many times he tried to block it out–plugging his ears, playing white noise from his phone, summoning Cthulu, crying into his textbook–it persisted.


Why am I studying anymore?  This is literally the final day of finals week.  There’s literally no reason to be on campus.  Hcould have left last week were it not for these dang tests.  It didn’t matter anyway; his GPA was going to be a flaming dumpster fire no matter how well he did on today’s exam.


“Why are we still here?” he croaked, flipping the page of his book with tater tot-crusted fingers, “just to suffer?  I can still feel the heat of the sun…taste the freedom of the wind upon my face…and yet, here I am, alone.  Alone but for the silence of self-reflection and tater tots.  After being up for 69 straight hours, I have finally snapped.  This, all of this, is just manufactured to induce torment as punishment for mentioning my love of math on my application.  Well, that love of math is no more.  The only thing I know I can cling to is the presence of pain, the absoluteness of agony, tater tots–that’s three things, but I can’t count very high.  Anyway, all I see when I glimpse into the future is pure torture designed to throw a wrench in my plans to ever feel an inkling of happiness for as long as I shall live.


“I’ve done problem after problem in this book, this dang book, and none of it has yet to make any sense.  I might as well try to learn how to dance the Macarena for all the good this is doing me–this isn’t even that relevant to my major.  I am only here by the sheer will of the university and the professor who schemes and plots and plots and schemes to bring about my downfall.  Not even tater tots will tie me to this place, not when the bustling of freed students fleeing their cramped doors has kept me up all day after nights spent attempting to study for this blasted test, a test that will amount to nothing in the end.  The only thing I gain from this is being one step closer to my next plate of tater tots, and then–even then–it amounts to nothing.”


Hal picked up his textbook and held it aloft, stroking its problem-ridden pages with a hatred that could dim a thousand suns.  “Tonight,” he hissed, “you are going to Oh*o where you belong.”


We have survived finals week!  Probably.  Maybe.  Well…it’s been fun, everyone!  Not sure if this is my ultimate or penultimate post of the week, but either way, The Rise of the Band Geeks will be back!

Study Hal: Week 42 – Final Task

It’s been one heck of a semester, but it’s finally winding down. Today, Hal turned in his very last assignment for his undergraduate degree. That means he’s basically finished with college..? How wild! Hal says it feels strange for his last assignment to be a causal essay. To make up for it, he dedicated a lot of time polish it.

Hal was pleased with his efforts, but Sparky would rather play. Sparky has gotten used to Hal not being able to play, but he still comes and checks on Hal occasionally. It was a pleasant surprise that Hal went outside with him in the middle of the day! I think they’re still out there playing fetch.

I hope all the students out there are winding down and getting ready to enjoy their break, and I hope the graduates out there are taking care and enjoying the last bits of college. We got this!!

In case you’re new here, welcome! You’ve come just in time to catch the last few of videos from Hal and I. Hal is a senior studying electrical engineering from home. We usually post on Tuesdays, so check back next week, but in the meantime feel free to look through the Study Hal tag for more!

Study Hal: Week 5 – A Very Good Helper

Hal’s been taking some online classes, and summer finals season is almost here. He’s been diligently trying to finish all of his work. But, his family’s dog, Sparky, is not a very good study partner. Sparky would much rather play…

Pets may not understand this whole “work from home” thing, but they do love hanging out with you. If you have a pet, I bet they would appreciate if you carved out some time to hang out with them.

Hal is a U-Mich student who’s living at his childhood home over the summer of 2020. He’s back with updates on his exploits and experiences every week. If you want to see more, search the Study Hal tag!

Winter Break Beginnings

Today is December 20th. What is its significance? Last week, some lucky students already finished final exams, projects, and essays, so it seemed like winter break had already started. For many others, however,  the past few days were full of cram sessions, late nights, and more, leading up to the end of the semester. Today marks the last day of examinations, last day in the dorms, and last day of the 2019 fall semester. I hope everyone’s finals went well, but now that they’re over, I’m looking forward to winter break.

What are your plans for the next two-three weeks? I’m sure for many students, more sleep is one thing to look forward to. If you need more reasons to appreciate the time away from school, I’ve compiled a list of reasons why winter break is so great.

  1. You can take a break from studying and homework.
    • The relief that washed over my face after I finished my last final was only matched by the nervousness of viewing my final grades. Finals are awful, but they mark the end of the semester, which means no assignments over winter break! Take that much-needed studying hiatus to catch up on things you enjoy, like sleep.
  2. You get to spend time with family.
    • Okay, maybe you’re not the biggest fan of your somewhat annoying second cousin or your excruciatingly nosy aunt, but the holiday season is the perfect time to be with loved ones. I love my UM family here in Ann Arbor, but I appreciate the time to be at home with my parents. I also look forward to playing board games with my extended family, watching the new Star Wars film with my siblings, and simply enjoying the company of loved ones.
  3. There’s plenty of delicious food.
    • Yes, we all love those dining hall tendies – there’s even a student-made website for keeping track of when and where chicken tenders are being served. However, the home cooked meals and occasional restaurant excursions (courtesy of the parents, of course) have been missed. During winter break, there are plenty of cookies and specialty foods due to the holidays. That goes for beverages, as well. I can’t wait to look like Baby Yoda all cuddled up with a blanket and mug of hot chocolate. 🙂
  4. There’s time for hobbies you’ve missed.
    • College life is busy life. I used to LOVE reading in my free time, but when someone asks me what book I’ve read recently, nothing but textbooks come to mind. Winter break provides a bit of free time to catch up on all the hobbies you’ve missed while you’ve been busy studying, working, and doing all those extracurricular activities. Some of my friends have already lined up the shows to binge watch before returning to campus in January, while others are preparing to get down to business with arts and crafts.
  5. It’s the holiday season.
    1. The next two weeks feature numerous holidays, including Hanukkah, Kwanza, and more. As someone who celebrates Christmas, I always love this time of year. Colorful lights, Christmas music, and family gatherings are some of my favorites parts of the season. Whatever festivities you celebrate during break, I wish you happy holidays!


What’s your favorite winter break activity? Comment below!

Take a Break for Art During Finals

Final exams. The dreadful words are enough to send college students everywhere into a state of distress. While in high school, the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas often meant holiday decorations, festive food, and snow days. In college, however, this period of time is typically chaotic, with the end of classes yielding a pile of final essays, tests, and projects. With sleep deprivation and increasing stress, you may be left feeling overwhelmed. During a time that can be physically, emotionally, and mentally taxing, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself. One way to do so? Take a break for art. Here are a few ideas for managing college life pressures:

  1. Listen to some of your favorite music.

Music can have a huge impact on your mood and emotions. Upbeat music can set an energetic and positive tone, while music with a slower tempo can be calming and used for relaxation. Plan periodic breaks when studying and take a few moments to listen to your favorite tunes to destress.

  1. Write a thank you note.

Focusing on thoughts of gratitude can help put you in a positive mindset, and writing a card or letter is an excellent way to express appreciation for someone’s help. Thank a friend or parent for their support throughout the semester. Maybe even thank a professor who has had an impact on you (though consider the best time to give it to them).

  1. Draw or paint a picture.

Regardless of how “good” or “bad” you may be, drawing and painting can be good ways to reduce stress. Drawing and painting hold some of the benefits of meditation, and when you’re finished being engrossed in your art, you might have a more focused mindset to tackle your schoolwork or other problems.

  1. Jot down your thoughts, stresses, or ideas.

Consider taking a pen to paper in documenting goals, daily events, or feelings. If you feel guilty about taking time away from studying, make a list of what needs to be accomplished and use it as a to-do list.

  1. Color.

While the adult coloring book trend seems to have dwindled in the past few years, coloring is still a great relaxation activity. Coloring involves both logic and creativity. It can provide a distraction from stress and be a form of meditation for some people.

  1. Rearrange or clean your room.

Tired of your usual environment? Consider rearranging some furniture, getting rid of old things, or adding new decorations (with permission from your roommate, of course). Put up positive affirmations, photos, or artwork to contribute to a comfortable atmosphere. Cleaning can be a way take your mind off of schoolwork while still being productive, while rearranging can appeal to your more creative side.

  1. Play around with playdough.

Grab some clay from the store or make your own playdough for an emotional outlet. The squishy, malleable dough is a highly sensory medium that can be used for unleashing tension. For additional stress relief, you can add essential oils for some aromatherapy.

These are just some of many simple endeavors that could provide relaxation during a very stressful time. Whether it’s artistic or not, consider taking a break from studying once in awhile to recoup and destress.