Now that I am finished with my undergrad education, I have rejoiced over the calmness that my life has become without the late nights of studying for tests, reading, and that dreaded feeling that constantly lingers telling me I should be studying or doing something productive when I’m not. Constant days of having to mentally and physically prepare myself for grueling, long and hectic weeks are now behind me. I remember even writing down a study schedule for the week when I had multiple midterms down to the hour and only then realizing that I would be up until 3am just starting Chapter 18 given the time frame I allotted myself. And with design projects, I would be up so late sitting in front of my computer coding a website in a pitch-black room because my roommate had already soundly fallen asleep hours before. I am so happy for all of that stress to be over.

My tired body, heavy eyes, and tormented stomach from eating junk food are entirely grateful that the worries and pain from dedicating myself to schoolwork has come to an end. And why would I do that almost every other week for the past 4 years? To get good grades, of course! But there was always more to it than that. The feeling of receiving a good grade from all my hard work and the notion of confirming the fact that if you put some effort in, it will show and you will be rewarded has always encouraged me. And sometimes, I was less rewarded than other times which can be extremely disappointing, but that happens in life, and you can’t always be perfect. But maybe I’ve pushed aside that feeling too soon. Don’t get me wrong, every time I hear that someone has to study for a final or do homework, I breathe a sigh of relief that it’s not me. But somehow, I have channeled that pattern, that desire to achieve into other realms of my life style–and I’m sure you have too (regardless if you’ve been out of school for 10 months or 10 years). Training for a marathon, planning a group trip, mapping out a time line for saving money, taking more tests and applying for grad school, and the list goes on. Even when not haunted by the deadline of a midterm or the stress of school, we find other ways to experience that feeling of accomplishment. And lately, I have been doing it through baking.

It all sort of started with my first fondant cake. I had made a schedule for the week, and I figured out what I needed to do to complete the cake on time. And the night before I needed to complete it, I was up until 1:30am (on a work night!) carefully adding the small white icing dots to make “windows” in the city silhouettes. But the outcome of the cake made everything worth it, and although I was very tired the next day I felt accomplished. And that feeling is something you can get only when you work hard for it. After the cake, I gave myself a week of rest and low and behold, here I was again with the sudden urge to create something grand. Seeing that it was Valentine’s Day Weekend, I had to divert my mindset from being single on this day to the excuse of being able to make and eat themed treats!! Such a better mindset than the former if you ask me ;). So there I was again, planning out my week, by the hour to make sure I had enough time to get everything done. And as I was going to sleep late, thinking about it all through the day, I finally stopped to wonder, “Why am I doing all of this?! I feel like I’m in school again with so much on my plate (pun intended).” And the answer was simple: Because it’s worth it. After the daunting week, I look back and am truly happy with how everything turned out. So although I don’t miss homework and tests, I do truly miss the feelings they give me. My baking from this week was like crossing the finish line of a marathon or getting an A on a final–you mentally and physically prepare for it and then jump in head-first and conquer.

So without further adieu, my outcomes of the week:

- A fondant cake made with my co-worker for a birthday
- Sugar cookies for the two birthdays via I am Baker
- And finally, my Valentine’s Day themed treats:

  • More sugar cookies! Properly colored.
  • Thumbprint Jam cookies
  • Red Velvet Cake Truffles via Bake at 350
  • Chocolate dipped strawberries
  • Final Product

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