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20-Second Rule

The University of Michigan means a lot of things, and no individual’s experience here looks the same. Sure, as wolverines, we all live for Saturday mornings and most of us wouldn’t dare to step on the M, but depending on who we are, the meaning each one of us creates within the four years at this school looks vastly different. Although this school might mean a lot of different things for each of us, with senior year comes a more general consensus as to what this particular year truly means for all of us. It means somehow four years at this place have came and nearly went, it means a slew of lasts, and fewer and fewer firsts, it means appreciating every single experience — and regretting absolutely nothing, but unfortunately, amidst all of these things, the dominating consensus is that senior year means the end of an era.

So, while four years might look drastically different from person-to-person, this particular year means that, for us all, our time here is reluctantly coming to an end. But, hey, it’s still first semester, and the end isn’t near just yet, in fact, the end is just beginning. After surviving thriving during five home games in a row, slapping pizza out of my friend’s hand noting that Vegas is a week away, and realizing that Spring break needs to be booked within the month, it’s no doubt that time is flying, but it’s also no doubt that there’s so much we still have to look forward to. As dominating as the consensus of senior year meaning the end is, all of us must adopt one crucial dominating rule to live by over the course of the next 8 months (especially for first semester), and that rule is the 20-second rule.

It’s an easy rule because it coincides with another commandment everyone should live by (the 20-second food rule), and it should be taken just as seriously (if you don’t take that rule seriously, then we can’t be friends.) It’s a guideline I’ve contrived to help every over analyzer, every over thinker, and every over worrier like myself (AKA a rule to guide the University of Michigan seniors who are more than likely some twisted combination of the three). Like the 20-second food rule, the 20-second panic gives you a 20-second window of permission. It’s your 20-second free pass, one that should be used wisely. It means for all other 8,6380 seconds of the day, you’re not allowed to think about all of the “what ifs”, “what will I dos”, “how will I lives,” “where will I gos”, “what will I contribute to the worlds” that may or may not consume your brain on a daily basis. You’re only allowed to consider them for 20 seconds.

It means constantly fighting as hard as you can to push out any notion of self doubt and charging onward, appreciating every moment and every experience that’s happening right now. You only get 20-seconds a day to let yourself get hit by the 89 ton weight of reality that may or may not be crushing your chest for more minutes than it should be right now, so after your 20-seconds of panic, your brain has to shut up. It’s a rule I, as the creator, am actively working on abiding by, and unlike other rules in life, if you find yourself breaking it, it’s not meant to make you feel guilty. It’s meant to make you cognizant, and it should be a constant reminder and a constant goal for your senior year mentality.

If you go to this school, you’re probably pretty motivated, so let this rule offer you some peace. Work hard, but enjoy senior year. After all, if the consensus is that this is the year is the end of an era, so you better be making sure that you’re ending it on a note sweeter than every Insomnia cookie you’ve ever consumed in your four years combined. You’re allowed 20 seconds of OMG WHAT IS HAPPENING WHERE AM I GOING IN LIFE? But, then you have to stop. Stop and realize that, for now, your life is right here, and that’s all you really need to know.


Images courtesy of: Rachel Gordon and Pinterest.

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