22 September 2006

Two steps forward, ten billion steps back

Sometimes when I write in here I try and have a certain kind of voice, or some kind of "I'm going to say something important mode" feeling. I think lots of people do this when they write in blogs. They write about the problems of the universe great or small...and I'm too tired to write about anything important so I'm just going to vent for a little. Stay with me. You'll probably sympathize.

I'm tired. I'm completely and utterly exhausted. To be totally honest it's a miracle I got up this morning. I am at the end of my rope. You know the point. It's when you are so exhausted that your body feels like it's asleep when you're sitting or standing in one place for so long. And you would think that you would be asleep too except you have a headache and you're forcing yourself to keep your eyes open and just keep moving. Keep going through the motions. Wake up. Get ready. Make lunch. Walk to class. Sit in class and look interested. Maybe say something profound if you can think enough. Leave class. Go to next class. Same thing. Go to work. Go home. Do lots of homework. Hopefully get to bed by 12:30. Wake up...Start over.

If I were more awake and more aware right now, I would be really frustrated. Well, maybe not right this minute. I'm really writing this in the middle of an American Lit class and trying to catch some of the lecture on Puritan culture (which I already know most of because of other classes). But if I weren't in American Lit, and I were more awake, I'd be frustrated. I'd be frustrated because there hasn't been one point this semester where I have felt like I've been on top of things. I've always been just barely hanging on. Or not hanging on at all just letting the wind or the tornado or whatever kind of propel me towards things. It's annoying. I love all my classes. (Well...Maybe not American Lit as much as the rest, but most of that is because I just don't like American Lit). Either way though, I've got so much to do, and so much to take care of and not enough me to do it with.

This isn't unique. This happens to every college student. I don't think I know one (or at least not many-I've got a roommate who always manages to be in bed by 11:00 and still get incredible grades), but between working 16 hours a week and taking classes I don't quite know how I'm going to manage life. Let's just say that I literally cannot wait for the weekend.

Small tirade inserted here: My parents keep asking me about whether or not I'm dating. *drops to the floor*. There are not enough hours in the day for me to go to class, do my homework, go to work (so that I can go on a study abroad), and do Christmas Carol (I hope) in a day. Much less date. To be totally honest, I'm amazed (and a little confused) at how in the world people manage to date and go to school at the same time. Who has the time?! I know that we're supposed to use college to grow as a person and get out and whatever else, but what if I really want to focus on school? Sigh. This is where it starts to get absurd. I can't run faster than I'm able but I'm expected to be educated, experience the world, volunteer, have a church calling, and go out and make a boy date me so that I can get married!? Right. I'm sorry. That just isn't humanly possible. Not right now anyway. Not for me.

Besides- One of my roommates said that she heard someone say once that marriage is just a byproduct of living a righteous life. It shouldn't be the end all-be all of our existence. It's important, yes. But at this point when I don't have anyone to date, or anyone I want to date, I'm not going to run at it.

Good gravy, I just did another entry on dating. I'm sorry. I totally didn't expect it to go that way. I guess it's official-BYU has corrupted me.

Oh, and Liz? You'll excuse me for not publishing more often. I haven't had much time lately.


Liz Muir said...

Stuff and nonsense. I don't want to hear a single thing about you being busy. I'm taking five upper-division courses and working 16 hours a week. Yet, this week, I still found the time to cook dinner every night, spend 4 hours at the CS Lewis Society booth (plus 2 hours passing out flyers), play Sardines in the library, watch Nova, start a prank war with the apartment across the way, and go to an enrichment activity. Oh, and I've posted on my blog almost everyday.

If there's one thing I've learned, it's that complaining about being busy will get you nowhere. Either you're doing it or not.

One thing I highly suggest is taking into consideration exactly how much effort you need to put into your school work. Book of Liz, chapter 6, verse 12, "For what is a woman profited, if she shall gain straight A's, and lose her sanity? or what shall a woman give in exchange for a high GPA?" Really, especially with textbook reading, there's three levels of effort you can put in: comprehension, completion, and skimm. Reading for comprehension is not necessarily the best level, when completion or skimming will do. See where you can cut back your efforts and still get reasonable returns.

My rule is the 80/20 principle. 20% of the work will get you 80% of the way there. 80% is a B-ish; how much of the other 80% of the work do you want to do? Is the extra 40% to get an A worth it when you could save hours and get an A-? It doesn't have to be perfect, just done. No, you won't have a 3.999999 GPA, but you'll hang in there around 3.6-7-ish. Which is perfectly fine.

Anyway, try not to stress out too much. You can't do everything, so stop trying to. Only do what you need to do, then do what you want to do.

Ben Crowder said...

Yes, you're certainly not alone. :) This feeling -- of overwhelm, let's call it -- comes and goes like the tide, crashing in on a regular basis and flooding your schedule with to-do items, obligations, and above all the sense of a tremendous weight pressing down and threatening to crush your very life out. Not fun.

In response to Liz's comment, I wonder if venting about it might not help in some small way. Sure, it's unlikely to solve all of your problems, but it could very well let out some of the steam, dropping the internal pressure. (At least that's my understanding of the physics of it. :))

As for dealing with the remaining pressure, I agree that it's really useful to -- how shall I say this? -- do the bare minimum for school. Right now I'm in the middle of the evaluation phase of that, trying to figure out which classes will let me get away with skimming the textbook and which I'll actually have to comprehend. Not that I particularly like the idea of doing less than one's best, but in this case 1) if it's something truly important to know, I'll learn it (whether on my own or in class is irrelevant), 2) if I get burned out, all of my grades will suffer, and 3) grades really aren't that important after all (I keep trying to remind myself that as I get ready to apply to grad schools... :)).

One way to look at it which has the advantage of being a salve for one's conscience is this: if you're so busy with schoolwork that you don't have time to help other people (the Christian life, that sort of thing), then it's quite fine to pull back on school until you reach a healthy balance. And if your GPA goes down too, well, I don't really think your GPA gets recorded in the Book of Life. :)

Concerning dating, I like your roommate's statement that marriage is a byproduct of living a righteous life. Dating during school is tough, which is why I only go on dates when I have a strong motivation to do so. There's too little time to date purely for the sake of having gone on a date. And one of these days I need to come up with a really witty, stop-them-in-their-tracks response to the "Are you dating anyone?" question... ~sigh~