What do I mean when I say I bust my ass?
No I didn't fall down the stairs and literally break my rear end- although yes I have fallen down the stairs recently, but that's super normal for me. More accurately though, maybe I actually fell down the stairs and hit my head, because I must be either going insane or concussed at this point to have my work study 20 hours a week, another job, two literary magazines, ultimate frisbee, and classes to balance- never mind doing things like eating, seeing friends and family, and going out on the weekends (no, I DON’T sleep anymore, thanks).
I think there’s the trope of the lazy college student going around right now? Those millennials, they get everything handed to them. Damn youth, wasting their life away on art and drugs. Hi sorry, no. Most millennials are busting their asses as we speak. And why? Because tuition is crushing us, debt is encroaching, and when we get out of school the job market is looking bleak. Because we are told we have to be the best in order to get anywhere. Because at a liberal arts school, driven by fame, following your dream, making a change in the world, or whatever floats your boat, average doesn’t cut it. Many of the best won’t even make it in these industries of media or artistic production, nevermind those who are just OK.
If you’re not low key falling apart mentally and maybe even physically at this point, well then you’re not doing college right.
Right so this is obviously not true, nor this dramatic. I think it’s incredibly important to balance yourself, your health, your work, and your sacrifices, but there's honestly a level you need to get to in order to know you are doing your best. And I mean YOUR best- not your friend’s best, regardless of whether that means more or less than yours. If you can work harder, you better damn well be working harder, but if you just can’t put in anymore without ending your week in a pile of tears, then you really shouldn't. In fact, at that point you should take some Treat-Yo-Self-TLC-You-Time. That's the beauty of pushing yourself, you don’t let anyone push you too far. If you can manage to be your own motivation, or at least your own regulation, you have the choice to take a step back when you need it. You know your own mind and body better than anyone else in the world. No one has spent the most time with you than you yourself, and no one ever will. And maybe you feel like you don’t know yourself at all, maybe you’re a little lost, I know I am sometimes. But the fact is you do- you just know yourself. That gut feeling might get a little buried sometimes, or your needs might get blurred by what other people tell you, but you know in the end. Plain and simple.
So for me, what does it mean to bust my ass? It means two jobs at school, one at home, working extra hours during spring break, and applying/submitting to every literary magazine I can handle. But what else does that mean? Well this week it has meant crying at 2 a.m. because I was overwhelmed, exhausted, and not dealing with any physical or emotional needs all week, but, on a good week it means going out on a friday night with my friends, sleeping in until 2 on saturday, splitting a pint of ice cream with my bestie, and regrettably saving all of my work until sunday. It means I can buy $300 tickets to a music festival in the summer and then still live in the Netherlands for 3 months next semester because I know how much money I can make, how much I can spend, and what not to waste that money on. I don’t go out to eat much, I don’t buy too maybe clothes, and I try and buy everything used. So when I can shell out a couple hundred bucks, sure I’m lucky, but not lucky to have the money; I’m lucky to be able to have the opportunities to make that money.