The other day I found myself in a situation that I would only wish on very few people in this world: an hour and a half confrontation with a copy machine. I had to copy an entire 120-page script, page by page. Prior to this, someone had helped me with this daunting task, but I thought that I could manage on my own this time. I was ready to give this copy machine my all. And it got my all. All my time, patience, sanity...you name it, the copy machine tried to steal it.
However, in this battle, we both won. The copy machine got attention for hours and I learned a whole lot along the way.
1. It might be easier if you ask for help, but you’ll never learn how to do things on your own.
At the beginning of my struggle, someone suggested to me that I should go find someone to help explain what to do. I really considered it, but I wanted to know how to do it for myself. And after not asking, I figured out how.
2. Life is a series of trial and error.
Keep trying and trying until you get the result you want. You'll figure it out eventually.
3. Sometimes you need to ask for help.
You don't have to do everything on your own. It's OK to ask for help if you really need it. I ended up doing this when I couldn't figure out how to use a particularly complicated three-hole punch machine. Someone knew better than me and now I know how to use it for future reference.
4. There are times when you need to work really hard to get what you want.
There was a section of script where I had to press down fairly hard to keep the script in the right position. It was really frustrating, as I was working on other homework in between page flips because I had to put everything to a full halt to hold onto the copier so that it'll do its job. Sometimes you have to go the extra mile.
5. And others where you need to let go and let whatever happens happen.
After this period of holding down the copier with all that I had, there came a period where if I so much as looked at the copier for too long, it wouldn't turn out right. At some point, you have to let go and be OK with what happens after.
6. You don’t get anything in life without putting in a little work.
My journey was long and tedious, but in order to get the thing that I needed, I had to work for it. Nothing in life is free. You gotta work for what you want or be OK without it.
7. It’s not the end of the world if you hit a jam. Try again. Keep going.
I had to replace the paper supply at one point and OF COURSE the machine logged me entirely out without saving any of my settings. Frustrating? Absolutely! The end of the world? Of course not. I figured everything back out and got back on the grind.
8. No matter how frustrating things get, you’ll get through it.
There were a couple of moments where I really wanted to scream and shred my progress. I wouldn't have been even more frustrated with myself if I had chosen to do that. I made it through and you will too in whatever is troubling you in life.
9. People may come and go, but keep those around who check in on you.
I saw a lot of different people during my copy machine adventure. Some of them addressed me, some of them offered to help, but only very few checked on me to make sure I was still doing OK after all that time. Those are the people that really care. Keep them around.
10. Mistakes happen. Learn from it. Do better next time.
I screwed up a few times and there were plenty of papers in the recycling bin to show for it. It's OK. Life goes on, and you live and learn. Don't beat yourself up over it.
11. You won’t always enjoy everything you have to do, but it makes you appreciate the things you love more.
I was copying this script as a part of my job as a stage manager at my school. I absolutely love the job as a whole, but there are always a few things that make me question just how much I love it sometimes. This was one of those instances, but I powered through and it made me appreciate the things I love about my job even more than before.
12. Sometimes things take longer than you planned.
I was expecting this job to take about a half hour. I thought I'd have time to kill after I was done and was genuinely wondering what I'd do with my time. Instead, I ended up dashing to my lecture class and bringing lunch with me on the way. I wasn't expecting to be there that long and sometimes that happens. You just have to rework your plans and keep on chugging along.
13. Sometimes it’s best to focus on one task at a time.
As I mentioned before, I was attempting to get some homework done during this whole fiasco, but at times, I found that the task that I was trying to accomplish wasn't going well because I wasn't dedicating my full attention to it. Sometimes you just need to give something your all to make it work. It happens.
14. Appreciate the little things.
Every once in a while, one of the copies would come out REAL crisp. This gave me immense joy and it kept me going through the tediousness of the rest of the job.
15. It’ll all be worth it in the end.
This was without a doubt the most frustrating part of my week thus far. However, I ended up getting a task that I needed to get done out of the way and I learned a whole lot about myself and life in the process. It wasn't a great time, but it was a great time to be left alone with my thoughts.