Counting today, there are 10 days left until the end of classes.
Seven school days, specifically.
If you, like the average UT student, take 15 hours a week, then you have 21 hours of class left for the 2014 Spring Semester: 1,260 minutes; 75,600 seconds.
And then – we have exams.
As the final days of school pounce upon us, you may feel as if there are way too many sources to research, outlines to write, papers to re-write (OK, maybe that's just us English majors, but you get the idea).
Whatever your major, this end is going to take a major amount of your time; while it may seem daunting, I'd like to offer you alternative perspectives on time that might offer your mind relief as we near the future and experience these final moments.
Presentism is a theory of time first noted by St. Augustine. He stated that time is a knife-edge in between the past and the future and cannot exist for a perceived period of time. In retrospect, this seems understandable, because if the present were extended then it would naturally take upon parts, before and after.
Buddhist Presentism philosophy arrives at the same idea: the past is unreal, the future is unreal and ultimately, the only thing that is real is the present moment of physical efficiency.
This philosophy can help us through these final weeks. Consider focusing on what is at hand, not what has happened with our past test grades or what might happen with our future test grades. Instead, focus on the present moment, the only truth at hand. Take every moment as it comes, giving it your most honest effort.
Another perspective that might suit your fancy is actually the exact opposite of Presentism, called Externalism. It is the belief that all time exists at the same time, as if layered upon one another. In externalism, the present is simply the perspective of the observer.
This idea can be calming, satisfying – it can offer relief.
Think about it: in externalism, we have already completed the end. All we must do is realign our perspective and experience (in our minds) the conclusion of our trials. Perception is reality, so if you can perceive something, it must be real on some level. Escaping from the reality that we currently perceive is as easy as perceiving something else.
Of course, we must eventually return to the present, but hopefully we will return with the motivation to work hard and earn these joyous feelings of freedom and completion.
Externalism not your thing? Maybe instead of altering your perspective on time, you should work on changing the force of time itself.
In this illuminating view of time, to make time more useful, think of it in correlation to the speed of light. As Albert Einstein calculated, if the speed of light was reached, time would stop. So, on a much smaller level, the faster you move, the slower time goes. Maybe all it is going to take for you to finish up the rest of this semester is to move fast enough so that you'll make more time for yourself.
And if that's too much of a stretch of science for you, consider one truth that we can all relate to: if you never stop moving, never stop going, and never stop working, you're going to create a time and space in which you accomplish things beyond your imagination.
Julie Mrozinski is a junior in English. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.