Last weekend I went to Maple View Farm in Chapel Hill and ate the most amazing ice cream to reward myself for getting through a tough week. While relaxing in a rocking chair overlooking the ongoing fields filled with cows, I saw something so simple yet so pure.
I saw a little girl getting dropped off from a school bus. I could see a huge smile on her face as she enthusiastically waved goodbye to the bus driver. After waiting for the bus to get out of sight, she sprinted down a small path towards her house, and I could see her small pink backpack bouncing along behind her.
I thought back to what my life was like in elementary school and when I did not have anything to stress over. I didn't have to stress about getting into college, finding an internship, or writing a 20-page paper. I had so much time to play tennis in my neighborhood, play Mario Kart with my dad, and have hobbies like playing the piano and reading for pleasure. Now that I'm in college I feel like I'm in a non-stop cycle of trying to get to the weekend. I see that a lot of my peers are also in the constant slump of just trying to get through the week.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when people say they do things because "it'll look good on their resume." When did we stop doing things that we were passionate about in exchange for stuff that is supposed to make us "look good." It breaks my heart to see people push themselves past their physical and emotional limits because they feel like they have to sacrifice things like sleep and hobbies to succeed. It's true that college applications and job searching has gotten significantly more competitive over the years because people seem to be doing 10x more extra-curricular activities than people were in the past, and also seem to be mirroring that with stellar grades.
It is almost like as students, we have turned into automatons who have lost our sense of identity. If someone were to ask you to summarize yourself in three words, what would you say? Would you have something to say about yourself that isn't on your resume?
I'm not saying that hobbies can't be extra-curricular activities, but I think that we all need to be a little bit more selfish sometimes. We need to be able to do things just because we want to. We need to go on walks, sing, dance, play soccer, do yoga, re-watch Disney movies, bake cookies, read, paint, meditate, and explore who we want to be in this huge world.
I thought I wished that I could be as young as the little girl I saw at Maple View, but then realized that there is nothing stopping me from being that happy. I'm in control of my own life, and it's time for me to start being more spontaneous and doing things just because I want to.