Today, I overheard someone say that we’re about a third of the way through fall semester. Shockingly enough, I didn’t feel relieved. I didn’t think ‘thank god, we’re on week six already.’ In fact, I actually felt a little panicked. Or…a lot panicked. I thought about it for a second…they were right. I’m a third of the way through the semester and with plans to go abroad in the Spring…once I leave in December, I won’t be back at Saint Mike’s until next August. Where did the time go?
How am I a junior in the midst of my third to last semester at Saint Mike’s? I could have sworn I was a first year, like I don’t know…yesterday? And wasn’t orientation just a minute ago? It so cheesy, but days drag and time FLIES. Sometimes, especially when life gets really crazy, it’s all too easy for me to start wishing for classes to be done, tasks to be checked off…days to be wrapped up. And how can you appreciate what you have when you’re constantly willing it to be over with? The simple answer is that you can’t.
Some days I find myself going through a mental checklist…physically getting things done, but mentally not quite really living it. I never feel great leaving a class I know I zoned out in. Or a meeting where I checked my phone ten times. Does anyone? It feels more like a waste of time than anything. Inevitably, it happens to all of us. We’re tired, we’re human, life is hectic! But we can still make the effort to be present.
Being present is just a form of mindfulness. For example, in class I sometimes find myself thinking about all of the things I need to get done afterwards. All I can think about is the paper I need to write, the laundry I have to do, the groceries I have to buy. What am I getting out of that? For the time being, I’m in class. I can’t do any of the tasks I’m thinking about. In fact, I’m getting less done by zoning out – I’m missing valuable notes, information, and input from my classmates. But getting down on yourself doesn’t get anything done either, I don’t want to just get frustrated with myself for my lack of focus. So lately I’ve been practicing redirecting my thoughts.
Whenever I find myself thinking about doing something else, I just remind myself to focus on where I am at the moment. I make an effort to talk with the professor, ask a question, put all of my energy into whatever it is at the moment. I let the thought go and make an effort to be more engaged in the situation around me. While I haven’t ever been very consistent in it, I know that this is something that meditation can be really helpful with. Taking just a couple of minutes out of your day to sit in a quiet space and practice letting thoughts come and go is insanely beneficial to so many aspects of your life. We live in such a busy world that our brains can sometimes become a mess of to-do lists and reminders. I’ve found that the more present I am, and the more deliberate I am in my actions, the more I genuinely enjoy my day and the more I feel I accomplish and take away from it.
Image 2 & Cover Photo : https://www.mindful.org/how-to-meditate/