This time of the year always brings out two very conflicting emotions for me: unadulterated joy and petrifying anxiety. They each try to one-up the other consistently from Halloween through finals, and the color of my hair pays the price for it (sister found 3 gray hairs the other day). And it was in that one unwelcome yet humbling moment that I realized something. What was I focusing on most in my life right then? What was I putting myself through and was it necessary?
Answer, in short: “heck of a lot of stress” and “no.” And it took an impromptu speech from a college professor to snap me out of it. My life is essentially one ironic situation after another.
He essentially said, “Guys. Listen to me for a second. Yes, I know you’re all buried in Pinterest and fantasy football but this is important.” After that he took a classroom full of narrow-minded college students and made us believe that there’s more to life than school. My initial reaction probably resembled that of a five-year-old being told by a Santa Claus that Christmas isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. What are you SAYING, sir?! The university can hear you.
But he had my attention, so I listened. And (brace yourself) he had a point. School is an actual gift, but we treat it like a punishment. Do I even remember how much my poor parents, and my post-grad self, are paying to do this? Am I coughing up tens of thousands of dollars to panic about every chapter 5 detail I’m not remembering? Will my future employer ask about the 66 I got on a test that one time? I’m choosing to go with “no.” Again.
Perspective: we go to school to learn, not to memorize. To get experience, not a perfect GPA. My professor was the first to admit that he, too, forgets the point most days and gets wrapped up in the detail that serves no purpose other than to freak us out and shorten our life expectancies. So then he asked what he could cut from the syllabus to make our lives easier and what else he could do to help get us back on track.
I’ll take you up on that offer, professor, but I think you’ve already helped more than you realize.
Here’s a picture of the Christmas tree our house already has up. And here’s to a glorious end of a wonderful semester.