Some came armed with Frisbees, some probably with prohibited substances, and some simply flopped down on the grass in bewildered joy. (I was among the third group) The sudden crowd led one of my friends to ask, “God, where the hell did everyone come from?”
Her incredulity was understandable. I hadn’t seen so many people out on campus since October. The number of people who insisted on sunbathing amidst the stubbornly persistent patches of snow was surprising and, I think, inspiring. I love seeing that. I love believing in the collective carnal need for sunlight after months of being cooped up.
But what’s more, I love imagining that all the other people out there on Eddie’s also threw up their hands after page three of whatever paper they were writing, went outside and just took a break.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far this semester, it’s to know when I’m being too hard on myself. I used to constantly tell myself I should do more, should be able to focus better on reading or writing long papers, should be making art, should be going to the gym every day, should be applying for more internships — and what did I get out of thinking that way?
I got a heaping pile of anxiety to an extent I’ve never dealt with before, which manifested itself in ways right out of a psych textbook: anxiety dreams (getting chased by a bear in Central Park? No, thank you), nail biting, indecisiveness, etc. But, the worst part was that I wasn’t even getting more stuff done, even though that’s all I thought about every day. In fact, I was far less productive than before I started being so hard on myself.
I’m sure that, like with any conclusions I come upon in this column, many of my peers have already figured out for themselves how to manage their time and avoid burning out. Whatever method you use, don’t be embarrassed about it — don’t deny it. Many of the most seemingly laid-back people I’ve met at school have highly structured days —hour-to-hour planning may seem obsessive, but if it works for you, embrace it. I know that I’m not alone in admitting that I’ve spent too much time being frustrated and disappointed with myself for not being able to just cram studying, papers, friends and relationships into just a few hours a week, like it seemed to me that everyone was doing.
Once we stop focusing on our perception of others’ behavior in regards to homework and time management, we will be able to enjoy our own time so much more.
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