It’s natural for ambitious, high-achieving students to try to take on too much, and that’s something that I am struggling with this semester. In my first blog of the fall, I kind of ran through all my different obligations for the semester, and now, around the halfway mark, I’m realizing that this workload was unsustainable. In other words, trying to take on a full-time course load, writing an honors thesis, playing in the Blue Band, having an internship, looking for a full-time job, and maintaining my personal life was a little too much to handle. At this point in the year, I’ve realized that some things have to be cut, and I am trying to redefine new priorities for the next couple months.
To begin, I faced a needlessly difficult decision this week about my academic coursework. I was enrolled in an upper-level math course (graph theory, yikes) that I realized was not fulfilling any academic requirements, not furthering my career opportunities, and not making me happy. This course was definitely my hardest of the semester and the most time-consuming, yet I was getting almost no benefit from it. Because of this, I decided to late drop the course after much consideration and validation from others (shout out to Melissa for listening to my complaining on Thursday morning). I struggled to drop the class because I didn’t want to feel like a quitter. I didn’t want to be the kind of person who dropped a math class because it was difficult or because I was going to have to put extra effort into it. I’ve been challenged in my other courses, and managed to succeed, so why would this be any different? Ultimately, this decision came down to priorities. At this point in my life, learning about the number of spanning trees in a complete graph was less impactful than some of the other parts of my life, so I decided to stop wasting time on this class I didn’t need and didn’t like.
While I feel overwhelmed by what I have to do right now, I am also afraid of being bored in the future. I am the kind of person who goes crazy when he does not have enough to do. I don’t like sitting still for too long and I hate the feeling like I’m stagnant and not moving forward in some way. For this reason, winter and summer breaks can be a hard transition for me. In the semester, I have a clear purpose and direction, so it’s easy to feel like I am making progress, but during breaks I don’t have this, so I feel like a waste of space. I bring this up because, as I scheduled my courses for the spring, I realize I have very few classes that I still need to take to satisfy any academic requirements, so I’m worried that I’m going to be bored – especially with no Blue Band. Obviously, I’ll have to write a thesis, and this will take a significant amount of time, but I may need to develop new priorities for the spring. Outside of academics, the three things I want to add to my schedule are 1) Physical fitness – because summer bodies are made in the winter; 2) Reading for pleasure – because leaders are readers; and 3) Developing a new hobby – because I don’t really have any (so if you have suggestions, hit me up).