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Student Blog: Navigating November Concert Season

Midterm season can be stressful, especially with holiday concerts around the corner. There are a few ways I like to combat this stressful season.

Student Blog: Navigating November Concert Season

Growing up, the holiday months were always exciting for me. November begins the season for Christmas performances and the preparation for end-of-semester holiday concerts. I'm shocked to find I'm already approaching the end of the semester and these performances are coming up a lot more quickly than I had anticipated.

When you hit the midterm point of the college semester, most individuals seem burnt out and everyone is sick with some odd sort of illness. I'm recovering from bronchitis and scrambling to meet my theatrical production requirements. This week will be full of ushering for our mainstage productions, recital preparation, and costume shop work.

As a cross-registered student, I'm lucky to spend time studying jazz voice at Carnegie Mellon University. Yesterday, I had three classes at PItt, discovered I forgot my bus pass, and then made the trek to CMU where I spent four hours staring at sheet music. Our director informed us our first concert is in a mere ten days. I felt more than a little frazzled.

When I begin to feel stressed, I try to take a step back and do something I enjoy. For me, I love to cook. I will put on my favorite music or TV show and listen while I create something.

I know that the food will give me more energy to accomplish my tasks, and I feel proud of myself for creating something new. I put my phone away so I'm not checking emails and I ignore texts. It's me, my oven, and my yorkshire terrier barking when the air fryer sounds.

When I feel that things are getting too busy or out of control, I find it necessary to do what everyone thinks you shouldn't: I take a break. I go home, cook myself a big meal, watch a little TV, do a small bit of work, and then I go to bed early. I make sure that I'm still valuing the things that will benefit my personal health: rest and nourishment.

I love all things performance-related and the holiday concert series are one of my favorite times of the year. Acknowledging my love for them, I can also recognize that these performances can quickly become stressful when combined with classes, responsibilities, and other obligations.

When I begin to feel tired or burnt out, I remember why the concerts are important to me. The concerts are an opportunity to perform and to share your hard work with friends and family. In my heart I know I know the music, I know how to perform, I will enjoy it.

When school becomes too much, I think of how I can improve my grades and get things accomplished. My friend and I have a buddy system in which we force each other to study. There's a research study that calls it body-doubling. One of us will clean, study, etc. while the other accomplishes their own goals. Having a personal motivator can help each of us to achieve our goals and take breaks when necessary, making assignments less daunting.

Instead of focusing on what hasn't happened yet and what may go wrong, I'm beginning to focus more on why I perform in holiday concerts every year. I look forward to the concerts. They're an opportunity to grow and learn as a performer and to appreciate the holiday season. So, I continue to take breaks in between the chaos to reflect on how far I've come and how exciting it will be to share music with my loved ones.

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