When something consumes most of your time what do you do when that something is no longer around? While this is about college, this does apply (at least for me) to children and a few self-started projects. I’m sure you have a few things that you can think of. For those of you not in college, college is consuming; time, sanity, monetary, emotions, and physically. College does not end until you graduate or drop out.
Once you start college you will be in one way or another be in college the entire time. When a semester is ongoing you will be occupied (hate the word busy) with classes, homework, and the business of ensuring that you stay in college that has nothing to do with grades, such as financial aid. Class keeps you occupied while you are there, typically 50 minutes. Homework keeps you occupied anywhere from a few minutes to 8 or more hours a week. Why the variation, totally dependent upon the professor, the class, the degree, and you. If you procrastinate you will not have homework up front or during the semester, but at the end of the semester you will have a ton.
Because a typical college schedule is between 3 and 5 classes, you will be occupied a lot. This is a form of consumption. Of course you can try to keep college and life separate? No you cannot, it is a slow creep towards merging. That first semester the separation between school and life will clear and wide. By the end of the semester not so clear and wide. That first summer off, even if you have a job, will be filled with thoughts about the year you finished and the year ahead…summer is never long enough to clear the head completely, because right when you think thoughts of college are gone, the first day of the following year shows up. By the middle of your third semester, there will be no separation. Sitting at lunch with your significant other the conversation will turn to college, during sex, during…you name it. Worse is being a parent and being in college; children who already dominated all conversation, now compete with college and you may find yourself saying some of the strangest combinations of those things that consume your life, just to reduce the noise in your head.
Did you complete all of your homework? You did, good, but you are still thinking about what is due later. You are thinking about the paper that is due, the presentation to give, the power point to make, the quiz, the exam, the class, the walk, the food, the people, the…it never ends. It may be a clarion call in your head that stresses you out when you realize that there is ONE day where EVERYTHING is due and even if you worked early and hard, there is still not enough time. And there will be many ONE day’s.
A break, even a long weekend break, can be a well timed stress relief or a break can be a choice-do you take a break or do you take the opportunity to catch up on course work? A break, is rarely a break. Let’s say you do take that break, day one you feel relief that you don’t have to go to class, you may not or try not to think about what is due when break is over however, the whole break you will find yourself thinking about what you need to do or what you should do. Maddening is what I say.
Good example: The semester ended three days ago. I really have nothing left to do. Yet, I just checked my college email. I just checked my classes. I know I did not need to do either. I knew on Thursday that I had passed my classes, regardless of exam grades (by the way, if you can get into the habit of passing classes BEFORE exams, your overall stress level will be lower and manageable) and yet there I am checking to see if I needed to do anything or if I forgot to turn something in…ugh…see what I mean by consuming?
To further illustrate my point, here I am writing a blog about college, about break, and about not being able to separate the two. One reason is that I need to write about this experience for myself, the other is I have a class all about this is a few weeks. Maddening. 🙂