We’ve all had a revelation like this, one that allows us to wonder where exactly time goes. It’s a question that came to mind earlier this week as I noticed a group of freshmen, most likely returning from a club meeting or social, trod past me, fully clad in Halloween costumes. I paused for a minute and gazed down at the sidewalk, wondering how in the world the end of October had come so soon.
That’s when it hit; the burnout, the utter sense of exhaustion that I’d kept at bay, tied down for weeks, a fact which I was too scared to address amidst an avalanche of work and various other commitments. Many students suffer from these polarizing ups and downs, at some point throughout their academic careers, and in this process, it’s so incredibly easy to fall victim to our environment, to be controlled by what’s being fed to us, from our assignments and exams to our personal and professional relationships. There’s always something that’s demanded of us, a quota or a deadline which must be met; when faced with the challenges each day presents, it’s easy to succumb and mindlessly lose ourselves along the way.
I’m not saying that we should lose all devotion to these commitments – they do, in fact, drive us towards self-improvement and nurture some wild ambitions and passions. Rather, I find it important to emphasize the value in finding time for ourselves and regaining a sense of power and autonomy. Prioritizing yourself, no matter how busy you might be, is essential to not allowing the weight of life to pull you down, as dark as that might sound. We are told too often how we should “schedule” our lives, but at the end of the day, these decisions are ours alone, whether that means taking a break from studying for a day or cancelling a social event to feel in control again.
Existing is easy and yet also destructive – it’s the default setting by which we live. To actually live is hard – it takes effort, but it can shape some of the most wholesome experiences in our lives, and when we truly live, independent from expectation, we often don’t wonder where time went by.