It’s no cakewalk

Lucy Tu, Co-Editor-in-Cheif

It’s 2:30 A.M., and I’m pouring over my chemistry textbook. Words are buzzing around my head, and I feel myself teeter on the brink of a breakdown. School has become the only in- gredient in my life.

It’s like I’m making a cake, but while I’m pouring in the flour, my elbow bumps against the table and suddenly the flour has consumed every inch of the bowl. I can cover the outside with icing, so it’s perfect on paper, but inside will be nothing but a stiff, plain mess.

At that moment, while I’m sitting at my desk trying to study, I realize that I can’t even remember the last time I relaxed and just baked.

When people talk about the ‘recipe for hap- piness’ in life, I laugh. As someone who loves to bake, if there was a magical recipe to happiness, I would know it by heart. In actuality, the rec- ipes I’ve memorized are for cakes and cookies.

Truthfully, I don’t remember how my bak- ing hobby started. But as I’ve slowly upgrad- ed from Betty Crocker cake mix to following Buzzfeed Tasty recipes, baking has been the one thing that I can actually call ‘me time’.

My entire life, I’ve been reminded how important my grades and extracurriculars are. Whether it’s from my parents, my friends, or my teachers, I’ve always been aware of my GPA and what I can put on an application. To put it simply, “It looks great on the resume!” is a sen- tence I’ve heard too many times.

These are the values I keep in mind during my everyday cycle. I wake up, go to school, come home, do hours of homework, and the cy- cle restarts. Weekends are like clockwork, spent at speech tournaments or volunteering until it ends up becoming a chore, not a passion.

To escape the cycle, I bake. And while my parents complained and my friends remarked that baking ate away at studying time, it made me happy, and they weren’t making nearly as many comments when their mouths were stuffed with cookies.

As the pressure from school and my various extracurriculars got bigger, the hours in the day seemed to shrink. Living off four hours of sleep and Costco meals was pushing me toward the edge, and I couldn’t think about ‘me-time’ when homework was piling up and questions about colleges and resumes were con- suming me. Until that night, while I reviewed chemistry, baking hadn’t crossed my mind.

Even though baking seems pointless, I had let go of something I truly enjoyed doing. In that moment, I knew I needed to study integral theories, but I also knew that I wanted my life to be more than just flour. I didn’t want my life to be perfect on paper but meaningless in reality.

So I get up, go to my kitchen, and get ingre- dients. Part of me thinks I’ve lost my mind, but the other part recalls a mug-cake recipe. I crack the eggs, add the sugar, and pour in the flour, but this time, there isn’t too much of anything.

Once the cake is baked, I go upstairs and review enthalpy, now a little more full and a lot happier. The tests and the resumes haven’t disappeared, but they aren’t the only part of my life. As long as I take a deep breath and keep doing what I love, it’ll be a piece of cake.