A mountain of schoolwork

Greetings, readers. You may have noticed it has been quite some time now since my last post. I would like to say that there is a tremendously good excuse for this delay (i.e. I was terribly sick *cough cough,* my internets broke *sputter sputter* – yes that’s the sound of the internet breaking, or perhaps an ice cream truck was parked outside of my flat for the past week *yum yum*) but alas, it was simply because things have been a little stressful in the ivory towers of Outdoor Ed here in Edinburgh.

Even as a young child, workweek productivity slammed to a halt when Patrick got a taste of 'the frozen drug.'

Photo:Stuff by Cher

The typical lament of the postgrad student is that they can no longer find their bed as they wade through pile after teetering pile of papers and readings that all should have been read yesterday, and OE students are usually no exception (except that they also have to avoid the piles of stinky outdoor gear strewn about the floor). But for March through to June, us outdoor academics hit our busy season, albeit in a bit of a different way.

After a few conversations with close friends and family, I’ve realised that my complaints about being stressed and busy are eliciting exactly zero sympathy. Why, dear reader (mostly the same close family and friends, let’s be honest here) have I been spurned by those most near to my heart, in my time of need? The answer, I’ve realised, is really quite simple. When you tell someone, “Yeah I’m super stressed out, I have a paper due, I have to go winter mountaineering, I have a ski trip in Norway, AND, I have that pesky expedition to the Isle of Skye…I just don’t know how it’s all going to get done!” they tend to not take your very seriously.

A current view from the Cairngorm webcam. Winter mountaineering in Scotland: markedly similar to summer mountaineering.

This is actually an exaggeration, my friends and family are all very supportive when I am stressed, I have just found myself realising that some of my complaints have been, well, quite good complaints to have in the grand scheme of things. It really is amazing how easy it is to forget how good things are, and it was a wakeup call for me to hear myself bemoaning an upcoming week in the Cairngorm mountains. And that’s really the point, I think. I am obviously very lucky to be studying in a program that includes amazing trips as requirements for my degree, but I’m pretty convinced that we all have amazing circumstances, people, and even things in our lives that after a little while begin to lose their sparkle and we start taking them for granted.

And so that’s my reason for this quick, somewhat late, post. I will no doubt be full of new stories of outdoor adventure after my upcoming week in the mountains, but until then, with a bit of a similar theme as my last postwhat is your ‘Cairngorm mountain moment’ (who/what/where do you take for granted and then realise, wait, this person, place or thing is actually incredible!)?

A view of Edinburgh at night from the Salisbury Crags

1 thought on “A mountain of schoolwork

  1. Being another UK grad student, I had a very relatable moment yesterday. After a realisation that I had way more work than I could feasibly do with my allotted amount of time, I became overwhelmed with stress and emotion for the better part of a morning. Suddenly, I removed myself from this cloud of negativity and noticed I was cycling through a beautifully sunny Hyde Park with my boyfriend, on my way to an excellent theatre company, before going to a new neighbourhood for dinner with friends.

    I thankfully remembered how lucky we are for every moment we have, and that although work and school is important it should never consume us to the degree that we forget the life happening around us.

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