“There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.” [Ecclesiastes 2:24-26]
On Freshley staff, we sometimes like do these things called “hot takes.” If you don’t know what a hot take is, it’s basically a thought that goes against a very popular opinion. Here are some hot takes that various staff members have come up with throughout theis year (please keep in mind that these do not represent all individuals on Freshley staff):
-Birthdays are overrated.
-You shouldn’t post on Instagram for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day if they are never going to see it.
-UGA Football is not that big of a deal.
Well, I’m here to present this fat hot take: finals don’t have to suck.
In this verse from Ecclesiastes we are told that “there is nothing better for a person than that [he or she] should … find enjoyment in [his or her] toil.” So, when I read this, I think that the work that we do should be something enjoyable. That’s actually God’s will for us which is incredible.
Now, please understand that I am not saying that every single moment of finals is going to be fun and enjoyable. However, I do think that the greater purpose should be an good one.
For example, I get that chemistry is actually really difficult for many people and that memorizing the formulas and concepts is not easy and probably not enjoyable. However, you can also think about it this way: If you’re taking chemistry so that you can one day be a pediatrician to take care of sick kids, hopefully there is a sense of enjoyment in the work because you know that the end result of studying will be worth it.
Also, it’s okay to just straight up enjoy the schoolwork that you’re doing. I think that sometimes we feel this pressure to be miserable during finals week because that’s what the culture of UGA tells us to do. But I’ll say it! I actually enjoyed a lot of my finals because I got to do stuff like what I do in my real job now. So, honestly, I thank God that I enjoyed it because it was pointing me to joy within my future.
The second part of the verse tells us that working just to work without any sense of enjoyment is actually just striving after the wind and not of God. So, how does this relate to finals? Well, if you are just straight up miserable, and there doesn’t seem to be any sort of light at the end of the tunnel (i.e. working through chemistry to one day be that pediatrician), then I think it’s time to look at why you’re doing what you’re doing. Are you doing it just to make a lot of money? Are you doing it to please your mom or dad? Are you doing it just because your older sibling did and they seem happy doing it?
If you are just going through the motions of your finals and your classes, then I think it’s important not to just “strive for the wind.” I think God wants us to enjoy our work.
Now please understand what I am not saying: I am not saying that just because you are unhappy during this week of finals that you should question everything. You may just need a shift in perspective. I am not saying that you should change your major just because your mom or dad suggested it. I actually got a degree in something that my mom suggested, and I loved my major a lot!! I am not saying that knowing you will make you a lot of money one day is bad. If you make a lot of money in the future, that is an amazing opportunity to live with a generous heart that God calls us into. I am not saying that just because you don’t have a set reason that you’re taking the classes that you’re taking, that you should feel hopeless and without direction. At this time freshmen year, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and I was not in the degree I ended up graduating with, and I turned out fine.
However, this is what I am saying: School can be fun! Learning can be fun and is a privilege, and I genuinely hope that you enjoy what you’re doing. And if it seems hard right now, but you know that there is that light at the end of the tunnel, then that is amazing!!
Just know that you do not have to give into the pressure that finals have be to some miserable, sucky time. You’re allowed to enjoy your classes. You’re allowed to not have everything figured out yet and at the same time not feel immense amounts of pressure to get everything right. God tells us to enjoy our work and not strive for the wind. So let’s do that!!