As the school year progresses, Smithies are getting swamped with work. We are taking classes, working and taking advantage of all the opportunities we can find. The four years we have here, as we are reminded at every waking moment, will never come back. The opportunities we get at this institution are time-sensitive. If we don't make the most of every second of every day, we will not get our dream jobs.
Given how this is the rhetoric we encounter at all points of our college career, our stress is understandable. As a sophomore, not only do I have classes to worry about, but I also have to worry about what I want to major in. Everyone I know is second-guessing themselves.
To all college students out there: You do not have to make the most out of every second of every day. I know they've fed that to you and brainwashed you by this point. Feel free to stop reading now if reading this isn't going to somehow contribute to the six-figure salary you're working for. You will get a great job if you work really hard. It's gonna happen the easy way or the hard way. But I guarantee that when you get there, it's not going to be as wonderful as you anticipated. Dream jobs are overrated.
When you are working your nine to five , or running your own business, your job isn't going to be the sole source of your satisfaction. How well you care for yourself, how often you take breaks, how you rewind -- all these will make the difference between miserable you and satisfied you. This will be especially true when your joints will ache and wrinkles won't go away when you stop smiling. Now, of course, I am nowhere near this age, so this is an observation, but seeing older people point to their stress as the reason for their anguish is not an ambiguous sign.
Habits such as "not thinking about work once in a while" are not gifts that only a few receive from the perfect combination of genes and environment. Such habits take effort and early reinforcement. We should start now. I often forget that I have to take a deep breath every now and then because I get carried away by all the assignments and chores I have to do. It becomes tough for me to stop for a few moments and breathe. This is not a good sign for future me who will have a job at stake. Rent is a much higher stake than a B on my transcript.
Have I scared you enough yet? Yes? Good. Here's what you should do to ensure future happiness (which is arguably why you stay up until 2 a.m. doing your problem sets or writing your papers):
Even if you have assignments do, take thirty minutes off and go sit outside with a friend. Listen to some music. Write in a journal. Do something for yourself in a busy day and you'll thank yourself when you aren't burned out by the middle of the semester. In your daily planner, or whatever you use to keep track of your ever-lengthening to-do list, remember to take out at least 10 minutes of your day to chill out. Try to do it at least four times a week. I guarantee you won't regret spending this time on yourself instead of "doing your work," which occasionally means Facebook stalking your roommate's high school friends.
When you're 40-years-old, chilling in your house with the music on because you make it a priority to remember why living isn't an endless cycle of stress, you're going to be happy you made this a life-long habit.