How was your summer? Yes, that was indeed summer, the period of glorious free time between the end of the spring semester and the beginning of the fall semester where you travel, work, go to the beach or gather with family. Yep, it was technically still summer, even though most of us were holed up with our immediate families. I was notified early that my summer employer wouldn’t reopen, so I had a lot of time on my hands. I’m already a bit of a recluse, so the extended alone time brought to light an unhealthy relationship I discovered I had been engaging in. I’m usually very self-aware and insightful, but it wasn’t until quarantine I realized I had a problem: obsessing over schoolwork.
I know some of you are laughing or rolling your eyes, and even a few might perceive my “dedication” to school as admirable, but it’s honestly a problem. I realized I was letting classes and schoolwork consume me and affect all aspects of my life. My mental, physical and social life were negatively affected by my habit. I had become obsessed, living in a never-ending cycle that no matter how much studying I did, I never felt that I was adequately on top of my class load. Friends would have to rip me from my computer just to hang out. Whenever they asked to hang, I would give the standard reply of “I’ve got work to do”, “I’m studying for a big test”, or “I’ve got a Zoom call.” They’d give me the same disappointed look every single time, and I was left feeling guilty because, though I really did want to hang with them, I knew I’d feel worse if I didn’t get to work on schoolwork.
The backstory is that I’ve always been one who had to work hard for my grades. There was never a quick review or a once over and “got it” moment. Comprehending new concepts requires more time for me, and because I’m goal-oriented, I’ve always put extra time into school over everything else in my life. I honestly will never understand how literally everyone else around me makes college look like a breeze: going out and socializing night after night. My self-restrictive schedule won’t allow such a thing. I always felt like I’m running behind a moving train trying to jump on. Then I’ll get mad at myself, wondering how in the world can I be under so much stress as a marketing and advertising major… no offense to my fellow business and communications majors, but seriously, we’re not taking organic chemistry. (Yes, I see you Health or Science majors, working your butts off!)
Anyway, quarantine helped me miss what I had been missing. I was letting the real college experience, (the one where you get out of your comfort zone, meet new people and end up in college situations that build genuine friendships and a little bit of character too), pass me by. “I wish I had” are some of the most heart-wrenching words spoken. Don’t wish. Do. After college, how many people tell engaging stories of their college days regarding their classes or GPA? I’m not saying these aren’t important, but c’mon, we all know that college is when you need to get out and experience life. And for those of you that already are out living life, keep it up! And those like me who feel as if you’re suffocated by your classes, indulge those friends that want to rip you away from your computer before they stop asking. Start small, partially because, with COVID, you have to, but take time and do some things you will someday wish you had. Don’t work more than you live. And please know that I’m preaching to myself as well as you.