The Benefits of Going Somewhere Else

So this past semester was kind of rough at times.  I think we all understand, in one way or another.  There were lots of moments where I felt pressured and stressed, but most of the time, I didn’t realize how crushing it was until I went somewhere else for a bit.  I work at our on-campus bookstore for about 8 hours a week, which may sound like another layer of stress, but is actually such a relief.

Only being surrounded by students, as fun and awesome as they can be, can be trying sometimes.  We’re all slogging through the semester and things can get kind of miserable.  Most of our conversations revolve around homework, classes, sports, clubs, and planning for long-term things like studying abroad, jobs, internships, and other stressful things.  And since most of us are living on campus, we’re surrounded by this oppressive atmosphere 24/7. All we’re thinking about, talking about, and doing is work of some kind.  It can really weigh us down, emotionally and mentally.

What I realized was how refreshing it is to work somewhere with adults who go home and can put their (job) work on hold, or engage in different kinds of work (housework, family work, hobbies, etc.).  Their conversations don’t include schoolwork or preparations for the future or the never-ending grind.  We’ve discussed everything from new sales in the store, to each other’s families, to music, to current events (on- and off-campus), etc.  The Bookstore employees encouraged me to get more sleep, to eat better, and even to leave once because I was sick and needed rest.  Every time I left a shift at the store I felt so much better, and I didn’t pinpoint why until the end of the semester.

My point is this: take time next semester to go other places.  Have conversations with people you otherwise might not interact with.  Go out-of-context, get out of your normal routine on campus for a while.  Talk to family and friends you may not have spoken to in a while.  Maybe challenge you and your friends to discuss topics that don’t involve classes/work.  Anything you can do to break out of the mental prison that college can become.  I know my example is very specific, but everyone can do this to some degree.  So if you’re feeling that familiar weight as a student, try going somewhere else as just you.