Stop and Take It All in

People tell you that your four years at university will fly by before your very eyes, and it is quite seldom that we believe them. The summer before your first year seems to drag on for a millennium – teetering between independence and naivety. Upon being thrust into a dorm with a new schedule of classes that don’t proceed one after the other, it looks like you have all the time in the world.

And then you don’t.

You fill the gaps with homework, a job, some clubs, exercise, an intramural sport, or maybe some new friends. As it turns out, you don’t have much time to yourself at all. You’re running on empty to each commitment after the other, hoping to build a resume or make an impression. Why? Why am I killing myself just to do one more thing that I think is going to make a big difference when I apply for a job in the not-so-distant future? I suppose it’s culture. I suppose it’s the new expectation. In a world of identically perfect candidates who seem to know everything because they grew up with all of the answers imaginable in a little, glowing box in their hand, it seems impossible to quit commitments without it having an effect on your usability in society.

Stop. Just stop for one moment.

Look at that beautiful building on your rush to work. It’s been there since before your grandparents were born. See the light shining through the trees sprawled across our green campus. Feel the air on your cheeks as you bike in the perfect spring sun. Go look up at the sky at night and experience how clearly the stars shine in front of you. Go on a walk around a campus in a town full of people in your exact same shoes. Rest on the grass and just think about the world around you.

Image source: Pexels

It feels impossible to slow down right now. You’re just getting started. You just got tools toward your dream career. How could you slow down?

Do it. In five years, you’ll think back on these years and want to remember the feelings and the experiences, not the stress. You’ll want the crystal clear image of the Davis sky or the arboretum. Slow down and just breathe. It’s self-care, it’s cleansing, and it’s important that you understand that you are not an android made to work every minute of your existence. You are allowed to stop and you are allowed to take time for yourself, regardless of the whirlwind you are in.

To poorly quote Hamilton, “Look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now.”