If you're anything like me - an overworked, underpaid college student - you haven't done much but work, sit on your ass, watch television, and catch up on your sanity since the end of the semester. Now this was obviously not the intention as finals came to a close and I praised the universe for giving me the strength to make it to the end of the single most stressful few months of my life. Realistically I was excited to take advantage of the free time that had recently been held hostage by studying U.S. history, keeping up on contemporary issues in the media, and learning how to be a soulless PR professional. I was going to get back into great shape, write every day (I'm a journalism major, soon to be English lit.), do some pleasure reading, maybe get back into some painting and crafts, or come up with a new recipe. Ahh, how optimistic I was. While I have been working on a script a friend asked me to tackle (slowly but surely), I've been overwhelmed with the amount of goals I have yet to accomplish. It's been roughly two weeks and I haven't put myself on any exercise or health regimen, this is the first writing I've semi accomplished, I've done zero pleasure readying, painting, or crafts, and I sure haven't felt creative enough to invent a new recipe. Though I do still intend on mustering up the motivation to pursue the aforementioned, the fact that I haven't was really started getting to me. When I woke up I took that frustration to a search for freelance writing positions, and when I of course couldn't think of anything to write about, I got to thinking.
I was sitting around in my pajamas at 3 in the afternoon feelings like a bum, I thought to myself, hey, you're not stressed out. You're not clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth while you're running around juggling tasks before you have to head back to school for your night class. You're not eating a Slim Jim for lunch because you didn't have time to cook, your eye isn't twitching from lack of sleep, the dogs not pissed because you've been able to be home with her, and really, you could be productive but you've earned this downtime if you want it. Which is my point. WE'VE EARNED THIS DOWNTIME. Now I'm not saying don't be productive, I'm just saying don't feel bad about not being productive when you've been busting your hump to better your future, and you can finally take a break and breath before getting back to it in a couple of weeks. Before you're playing the introduction game, learning who the annoying kid in class is, meeting deadlines, and keeping up on homework. Before you hear your professor tell you to "refer to the syllabus" for the thousandth time, get the dreaded "group project" assignment, or realize "holy sh*t, it's already midterms!?"
As students we're so prone to stress it usually becomes second nature. It's something we try to tame with sleep, coffee, and the occasional cry of release. It's something we can subdue with time management and preparedness, but we all know how difficult that can be when the spontaneity of life inevitably gets in the way. It's something we're so used to that we often don't realize how negatively it's affecting us until we move passed it and think, damn, I was in a funk. I really had to come to terms with the fact that it's okay to reward yourself on break, even if it's being lazy and enjoying your own company. We're so use to being in a constant motion of improvement, good grades, self worth, self control, and validation that we often forget that it's okay to relax. It's okay to do nothing and love every second of it, especially when you have the progression to prove it. Enjoy what time you have left of winter break because come spring semester, you'll be kicking yourself if you didn't!