While baking a cake is a good and delicious option, taking a dog for a walk, doing some sketching, anything to take it easy should be priority number one in times of stress. photo by Julianne Tran

With finals coming, bake a cake this week

The fourteen straight weeks of class have left their mark, but we should take a moment to rest before finishing strong, hopefully.

With bowls and measuring cups splayed across my countertop, I vigorously beat butter and sugar until fluffy and pale. I hummed “Hear in My Arms” by Leon Bridges as I tipped leveled cups of flour and teaspoons of baking powder into another scratched-bottom mixing bowl. Nevermind those impending deadlines, the essays will get done. But first, I will assemble this two-layered strawberry cake (with cream cheese frosting).

It’s that time of year! Everyone is stressed beyond what they thought they’d already experienced. We have too many commitments, many of which we do not genuinely care about. That class that we thought was going to be a breeze is actually the worst. Purchasing hasn’t reimbursed my club’s pizza and when was the last time I ate a vegetable? Professors demand more. We demand more of ourselves. And, most of all, we’re tired. But just one more long night will catch me up (or keep me as ahead as I hold myself to be), right?

The solution is not to stay up later, cancel all your plans, or eat your lunch while staring at your exam study guide. Bake a cake. Shrink your timeline. Do something unproductive for the sake of productivity. Or pure enjoyment. (Mostly the latter).

There is an odd (but knowing TU students, not so unexpected) density of TU organizations devoted to majors and career goals. We spend our time studying and completing assignments for the sake of a degree that is for the sake of some future goal. Whenever we’re not doing work related to classes, we’re doing work for these organizations that are similarly for the sake of the future.

Why is it that all the work we do needs to be productive? When we have “time off” from classes, we turn to “extracurriculars” that are of some productive, future use. We pass our classes. We stuff our resumes. And sometimes, we enjoy it. Other times, we are lost in the whirlwind of striving, accomplishing and grasping as we stare mindless as the hazy “tomorrow.” The timeline stretches longer and longer towards the nebulous future. The work piles on. There’s another meeting to sit through. Let’s hear about people’s successful interviews and exam grades! Let’s complain together and then retreat to grind it out all night!

Instead, bake a cake this week. Let those impending deadlines seep out of your mind for just a little bit. Do something you love, or used to love before you knew the canned answer to “What’s your major? What’re you going to do with that?” Quiet the ticking clock of your mind. Move your body, have an actual conversation, sing a song.

Whatever your cake is this week, I hope that you do it. It might not take away the burdens of your semester, but for that small moment in time, I hope you enjoy yourself. I hope you are reminded that you are a person who likes to do things other than study and become a “working professional.” At the very least, you might have some cake to eat after you fail that test.

Post Author: Julianne Tran