My semester just wrapped up an hour ago and I couldn't be more glad because these past few days have had me running on my reserve tank, although I knew the end was near. If you are like me you've spent this semester being a dedicated student working 2 part jobs, balancing 18 credits hours, juggling the responsibilities of being an RA, running a club and trying to be supportive of different club and department events that graciously extend invitations to you. Not to mention aiming to be a dependable friend, an obedient daughter, a concerned sister, aunty, role model and of course maintain the patience of being a nice person. So, despite your tiredness you catch a 35-minute nap and decide to show your face at the places you have been requested. While already running behind schedule, you also manage to hold the door open for the person behind you an additional few seconds, for them not to even say thank you. And in the midst of it all you try not to admit to the fact that you are stretched thin and are feeling…well...jaded and sometimes underappreciated.
These past 5 months have forced me to be a slave to alarms, meetings that I wish I could skip(and probably could've been as productive over email), a myriad of endless event planning and of course, the most important thing—punching the clock for overtime in my scholarly duties. This semester was exhausting and finally I had to start making decisions on whether to A) skip breakfast along with doing my hair, or B) catch some extra sleep to get myself to a level of proper function. Most of the time option A won. My mind was always in contemplation about the next program proposal, the study guide I needed to prepare for next week’s test or doing a mental budget of the week’s finances.
Secretly, my favorite parts of my crazy-busy days were simply walking to the school’s cafe alone, to use my meal swipe. The walk gave me an opportunity to plug in my earphones and enter into my own inviolable sphere of the world, not bothered by anybody or any questions. Often times I would purposefully opt out of going to the cafe with a group of friends, because that 4-minute walk alone was probably the only sacred space I would be able to embrace between the days classes and meetings.
Some days I would get lucky and my email would vibrate notifying me that a class was canceled. I would think 'finally I can actually sit down and enjoy a meal, and maybe catch an episode of Scandal on Netflix', but as soon as I planned out the unexpected hour I was prized, my phone would ring and it would be someone from home who wanted to talk. Not necessarily about anything important, but just to chit-chat. For a while, I answered their calls although knowing I was getting gypped in the end. “For a while” lasted until one day, I admitted to myself that while I truthfully would love to talk, I would sorta love to spend some time alone more. I had to learn the art of not answering calls (Notice how I crowned it as an art?). Sometimes this followed with guilt because communication with my loved ones was reduced to a text message, or a game of phone-tag on voicemail. But in the end I knew I would have to play catch-up more than I needed to, if I continued to let everyone impose on my spirit and interrupt my rhythmic flow of energy for the day.
So today as I recount my circus-act-of-a-life-balancing-way-too-much I make an honest confession. While the sweat, tears and hours of unaccounted efforts no one will ever know, drains me completely dry at times, did you know there is no other way I would rather be spending my 20-year old life? In a sense I crave exhaustion and I am thrilled by the stress-induced tasks of handling business and getting things done. I truly value the skill-set life is equipping me with through my leadership roles, committee meetings, program events and late-night study sessions. I know from these intense experiences of perseverance, tolerance, collaboration and uncalculated delays, buds the type of strength needed to change the world. On any given day I would much rather be spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted causing me to run on my reserve tank, because it points to one truth: I gave the semester, my colleagues and everything I am a part of every ounce of my being with nothing left to exert. So, yes, I would rather be tired than comfortable because I know it's only a small price to pay, compared to the harvest I will someday cash-in on.
As the semester ends I also extend a tremendous thank you to all those who helped push me, and see me through whether it be my boss lending me an extension on a deadline; my professor taking time to help me understand Kant’s moral theory outside of class; The Vice President of the club who started the meetings whenever I was running behind, or jumped on board with my last-minute ideas; my friend who let me borrow a $100-textbook I refused to buy myself; or my supervisor who allowed me to pick up more hours at work when I needed them. I also cannot forget the custodial staff who cleaned the bathrooms from top to bottom which allowed me a comfortable place to shower the days concerns away; and of course the lady in the cafe who went out of her way to find me a to-go-container, when I didn’t have time to sit down and eat. This semester has truly made me more grateful and present than ever.
Welcome to my views from this horizon!