Around this time each semester, there's something that starts to bother me. Of course, there's more work and there's less free time - that's part of it, I guess. But that's actually precisely the issue: people start to use busy as a competition word, as a word to show that their time is more valuable than that of others or to show that they are somehow doing more.
Basically, people start assigning moral implications to the word busy.
"I'm just so busy, you don't even know" becomes code for "I am doing the right thing." People begin to debate others' course loads, how easy they are, how much work they're really doing. People begin to consider which clubs their friends are a part of and whether they're involved to the same extent.
I'm here just to say something that I'm sure we already know: this is not healthy.
Being busy is not a prize. When we start wearing "I'm busy" as a badge of honor, as a catch-all excuse, we begin to forget all the reasons that being "busy" might not be the best. We start to forget all the things we might be missing out on as part of being "busy."
The other thing that starts happening when we start comparing how much we have on our plates is that we start devaluing other people's time. I know a lot of people who don't necessarily say that they're too busy to do things, but they are certainly thinking that they are busier than you and that that business means there is no way they could do something - but of course you could. When we start neglecting our obligations to those around us as a result of this "busy is best" mentality, we hurt people and we also show people that we don't value their time equally to our own. This is the ultimate showing of disrespect, and it's certainly damaging to our relationships with those around us, from roommates to that-girl-we're-meeting-for-lunch.
One of my friends always says, "Comparison is the thief of joy." It's something to reflect on in this "busy season" -- is a comparison with others stealing our joy? Personally, I know that if I start to consider myself as busier than everybody else or if I start thinking about all the ways other people are doing more, doing better than I am, it only hurts me. This sort of comparison is damaging to my own self-confidence as well as my perceptions of those around me.
What I'm trying to say is that we need to agree to stop using "I'm busy" as a reason to flake out on those around us. We're all busy, and we all have hard things to do. But if we all use that business as an excuse to dip out on our everyday obligations, there's no way we're going to be happy for the last month and a half of the semester. Let's do better, and stop allowing comparison to steal our joy.