I need a sunburn

I know I promised not to freak out too much here, about revision or life in general, over the next few weeks, but it seems as though I frequently gloss over or ignore the less positive parts about being a student; I pretend they haven’t happened or I don’t write about them, and it doesn’t feel right sometimes, that sort of lying-by-omission. Oxford is wonderful and rewarding and it has probably saved my life, but it is also hard and exhausting, and if that hasn’t come through in the past few years’ worth of posts, it ought to come through, just a little bit, now. Here’s the truth of what’s happening now: I’m tired of this.

I’m tired of the weather. I’m tired of the chilly winds, the mild drizzle, above all the ceaseless greyness of the sky. I’m tired of not seeing the sun all day, of being woken only by the lightening of grey outside my window, of going through twelve hours that are like a prolonged dusk before the encroachment, in the evening, of darkness, that quality of light at six or seven o’clock in the afternoon that makes you feel the rest of the evening will be hopeless and makes you want to go to sleep immediately, without any dinner. I’m tired of trying to revise all day and not being able to do seven or eight solid hours and feeling as though I’m not doing enough because I so quickly reach the point where I can’t do anymore, can’t focus hard enough, where I’m simply forced to take a break. I’m tired of trying to watch what I eat and failing because I don’t want salads or sensible yogurts when it’s only ten or fifteen degrees above freezing and raining every day; I want sausages and potatoes and sticky toffee pudding instead, but they fill me with guilt and, because I’m a diabetic, that food makes it harder for me to concentrate and work well anyway. I’m tired of wanting to go outside every day but finding, when I get out, that it’s utterly unrewarding, because of the raw or stinging cold, a stiff breeze, dampness hanging uncharitably in the air. Above all, I am so bloody tired of winter.

I want last year’s spring back again. I want sunshine to be hot and golden on my back. I want the fields dense with tall green grass and dotted with sweet flowers. I want the blackthorn winter of white blossoms scattered so thickly upon hedges that it looks like snow. I want the delirious blue of the sky. I want the wink and glare of the sun setting on a clear day and lighting up the back garden. I want to be able to sit outside again with a cider or a G&T and read in the sun loungers. I want to wear dresses without tights. I want to go all day without feeling the need to consume pasta or bread or starch of any kind. I want to feel better.

Above all, I really want Finals to be over.

They haven’t even started.

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5 comments on “I need a sunburn

  1. You’ll get through!
    Cheers,
    Jennifer

  2. Sharon says:

    One step in front of the other!

    These are all quite understandable and reasonable wants and it is better to express them than to keep them in. But you are a fighter and a survivor, Eleanor, and you will get through somehow. We all have faith in you!

    Keeping you in our prayers and sending you much love!

  3. Washington Wife says:

    I’m a former (Brit) Exonian now living in Washington D.C and I’ve been really enjoying your blog for a while now… but this is the first time I’ve really been moved to comment, because I remember all of this SO WELL! Finals were a while ago for me now (I read History and English, by the way) but I do still remember the pain. All I can say is, everyone is in the same boat, and everyone gets through it. I had a friend who slept in the JCR and ate pretty much nothing but KFC for three months. We all found that ‘Neighbours’ was the only bright spot in our bleak days (both the lunchtime one AND the repeat). I myself started snapping irrationally at people and bursting into tears for no good reason. But we all survived and then spent several weeks punting, drinking lots of G&T and reading Books For Pleasure (remember them?!) Chin up, don’t worry about the breaks (you need them!) and Keep Buggering (and Blogging!) On.

    • exeterelle says:

      Thank you so much for this! The encouragement of someone who’s gone through the same thing and come out the other side is really comforting. I’m so pleased you’ve been enjoying the blog, as well–and delighted to hear from someone in Washington! My American home is in Charlottesville, Virginia, so I know the DC area quite well and am very fond of it. I hope the weather is nicer there than it is here…!

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