Well, things are beginning to pile up. Like the calm before a storm, spring break was the last period of no responsibilities that I’ll have this semester – maybe this year, maybe this life – and the barrage of emails concerning graduation, research, and even gig opportunities was like a splash of cold water to my face. I’ve returned to the real world – sunburn and all.
I’m a generally calm person. For those of you who know me personally, I think you’d agree when I say my emotional peaks are moderate, and my typical level of stress is low. And, I’ve never really questioned why. It could just be a characteristic, I guess, but I’d like to think it’s not in my genes. It could even be my work ethic, which usually forces me to get things done early – before the stress hits – but senioritis is beginning to show its fangs, and I find myself treading deadlines more and more. It could just be the fact that most of my stress-related tasks come from my degree – which I’m crossing my fingers I don’t ever have to use – so, accordingly, you might see a drop in performance, but again, it’s not the case. Then, if it’s none of these things, I think it comes down to how I manage my time and where I choose to invest it because, if school was the only thing on my list, I’m sure I’d be ripping my hair out right about now.
Time is like a currency – well, it helps me to look at it that way. So, when your to-do list seems to be never-ending, and the sticky notes just keep multiplying, it’s important to realize how you’re using it. For example, take this blog I’m writing: I could think of about four or five things off the top of my head that, by standards of academia, I should be doing instead – maybe a ten-page research thesis that’s due at the end of the month, which I haven’t even started and I really just imagine as a big black hole on my calendar. Maybe I should be writing one of the two essays that my lovely teachers assigned to be due on the Monday and Tuesday we get back into class. Whatever the case, I’m sure a weekly blog wouldn’t be prioritized on the majority of people’s lists in days of constant work like these. But, it is on mine.
It is on mine because these blogs have become a written answer to a thought that I’ve had during the week. Maybe they don’t directly answer a question, or maybe they end up being vague or confusing, but they do mean something to me. Yes, sometimes, I have to make myself to turn off Netflix or put down my textbook to reflect for an hour, but it becomes absolutely worth it to take a step back, take a deep breath, and say, “This is where I am now.” By looking at myself, I get to take break from the inundation of information that we constantly subject ourselves to as students – or more simply as people – and think about something that I know and something that matters: me.
Knowledge of math, science, and the like is one thing, but knowledge of yourself is another, and I’d argue that, between the two, it’s the more important. Among other things, I think that’s why I’m drawn to music. As a songwriter, you are what you write, and with every song comes a new revelation – something that you’re forced to look at and play a thousand times over. You may not like what you see, but once it’s out in the open, you have to look at it and take it for what it is. So, I encourage whoever’s reading this to step away from the business of whatever life you’re living and twist your own arm to just simply think about you. I say, “simply,” but with a seemingly endless number of other things you could be doing, the task is definitely not a simple one. You may wonder what to think about, and when the thoughts just aren’t flowing you may give up and say, “Well, I tried.” But, give it a second. It may take a moment to get the train of thought out of the station, but where you arrive, the conclusions you draw, and the clarity that results are undeniably worth it.