How many times have you volunteered to wake up at 7 a.m.? Fifteen-hour days full of dashing from class-to-class, meetings that drone on and work obligations that leave you daydreaming about your bed gives any sane college student a headache worse than a Sunday hangover.
Call me crazy being too busy gave me a rush.
People say “Don’t bite off more than you can chew,” but I’m hungry. I like to think that I’m an ambitious girl boss: I’m always strutting around campus getting sh–t done. If you catch me at Starbucks, I’m writing a blog post or another sassy article full of puns to add to my already overflowing portfolio. Or I’m planning team meetings and editing other peoples’ work. Or I’m filling up blank spaces in the calendar. I hate seeing blank squares. I liked being too busy.
Last semester, though, some of my responsibilities really started kicking my ass. One particular position I held required a lot of my time and attention on a weekly basis. But then a weekly basis turned into a daily basis really fast. I spent every minute developing social media strategies, planning meetings, interviewing prospective new members for the team and ensuring that they became familiar with how to write and submit articles. Oh yeah, I was also writing my own articles every week. I loved my position, but I didn’t feel that I could juggle school with this obligation anymore. Maybe I was too busy.
If you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, you can still spit it out (if you haven’t already choked). So I quit. I spit it right out. I transferred my obligations to my replacement, said my goodbyes and typed sad emails to the team I was leaving. Sure, I had left my saliva all over the bites I had taken but it was pretty easy to just walk away. The aftermath did not come up so easily.
My brain enjoyed the new gap in my too busy schedule a little more than it should have. This gaping hole called freedom was foreign to me, but it quickly became an expectation. For a while, even some minor obligations—anything that could interrupt my routine of lazing around—felt like the end of my Netflix-filled world. I had very little drive to do much on campus after that. I even felt less motivated to keep writing kick-ass articles. Worst of all, I enjoyed the laziness. Having so much free time at my fingertips to catch up on Netflix shows and mindlessly browse the internet satisfied my inner sloth. I stopped crushing my work like a boss and started simply getting through it.
Actually, I lied. The real worst part of this was that, at the time, I didn’t even realize that my brain going into vacation-mode a little too early meant that I was burned out. I thought school obligations had kept me from the opportunities around me, but I did that to myself. I realized when the semester ended that I didn’t pay enough attention to the opportunities around me during the semester. I hadn’t even thought about new ways that I could advance my skills because I was so distracted by the glory of all my wiggle room.
I realized that I don’t respond to obligations in the same way that most other people do. I don’t mind being a little bit too busy. Adding something new to my weekly to-do list wasn’t the worst thing I could do for myself.
I thought I’d have found the right balance between brushing up on class material and brushing up on “Grey’s Anatomy” by my now, my junior year in college. Sometimes the right balance takes a lot of trial and error. I’ll definitely have times when I watch five TV show episodes too many despite a lengthy to-do list. But won’t we all?