By: Max Bruns ~Advertising Manager~
My personality is chaotic. I have lots of energy driven by an overactive imagination. My brain doesn’t process things linearly – my thoughts swirl around in a big pool, and it takes a lot of work to “translate” so that others may understand what I have to say.
For years, I used to lean into this quality. I firmly believed that I could live my life the way my brain worked; leaping from one massive labor to another, resting on the success of each and not accomplishing much in between.
The reason I lived this way is because I was always so afraid that if I conformed to deadlines, if I started papers early and actually read the whole book by class, I would lose part of myself. I would be so tired and drained from the immense workload that part of my crazy, flashy uninhibited personality would be sapped out of me. I would end up being a much more efficient, much less unique version of myself.
As a result, I focused on how I could live my life with just as much craziness and avoid falling into the wheel of the working world. My accomplishments were big picture: getting a good GPA, getting a nice job, becoming an RA, becoming club president. Little things, like filling out a leadership form on orgsync or responding to a professor’s email in a timely manner were often overlooked. I would find myself wishing I had someone to do “mundane” tasks for me. Here’s the problem, though: this thought process is horribly arrogant.
People who have those things worked hard to achieve them, and if they didn’t they certainly don’t understand the value of them. Everyone on this campus, in fact everyone who contributes to society, has to face a certain amount of mundanity to maintain a big-picture lifestyle. Professors have to submit grant proposals, CEOs have to manage billing discrepancies and alas, even journalists have W-9s.
This year, I have made a commitment to value all my work equally. This doesn’t mean that I prioritize filling out a tutoring time sheet over finishing an essay, but you better believe that I’m just as disappointed if I don’t finish either of those things on time.
In fact, I was even joking last week that I was proud of myself because even though I missed two minor paperwork deadlines, that was at least six fewer than this time last year.
See, the chaotic, last-minute force of energy that comes up with an “inspired” plan to save his own ass is not fulfilling his job as club president, student, RA or Newswire writer (speaking for a friend).
Now that I know how much it actually takes to be all of these things, it turns out I was right. I am more tired! Yes it’s true, sometimes I absolutely lose sight of the parts of me that were so spunky and zany they would compel me to play night sand volleyball or sneak onto the Schott balcony to sing show tunes to the sky. Now that I know how much energy it takes to be me and to fulfill all the duties I’ve signed up for, the hard part is deciding which parts to sacrifice. I’ve decided to sacrifice none of myself, because no one should ever do that to their true selves. Unfortunately, then, that does means scaling back on what I do, both in official functionary roles and in terms of plain wasting time.
I’ve recently decided to slowly but surely purge myself of social media usage. Today, I made the bold step to delete my Netflix account, and this semester, being in three choirs just isn’t in the cards. Reading this, you may not know whether my takeaway is satisfaction or disappointment. That’s because I don’t really know either.
All I know is I was not a healthy person last year. I barely slept, ate too much and watched Netflix constantly. I was in a rut interrupted by grade saving feats of strength. It took me quite literally days to encourage myself just to respond to emails because some part of me still abhors that activity even to this day.
My hall director even says that hiring me for the RA job was a personal debate for him, and knowing who I was last year, I can see why. But this year, despite the fact that I feel like I’ve changed, I know what I want much more clearly.
I want to be known as reliable and successful while still being crazy and zany and fun and spontaneous. I want to prioritize school work while still being social, and I want to use my free time to better myself, not learn the script of every episode of The Office by heart. I want to be more, better, bigger, bolder and generally more confident, and that means an eternal process of self-compromise, self-discipline and finally, leaving a little time for me.