There’s something almost intoxicating about submitting an assignment minutes before the deadline. Sliding into your seat after a full day’s worth of meetings with only an hour to spare. Fingers flying to finish, toes tapping out the tension. If just one thing goes awry, you’re screwed. Is it worth it?
I think about this hypothetical often during the few moments I actually have to myself. It’s by my own design — if I only stop to think intermittently, the feeling when I reminisce won’t get stale. I rinse and repeat, washing my hands with these memories, the suds a physical representation of my effort. When my hands are dry, they itch to be washed once more. It’s times like these that I understand what it must be like to be on a bender.
College is a funny thing to be addicted to — after all, I can’t really escape it. Even rehab is spent within the cinder-block confines of my suite’s single. No matter where I turn, campus is there. Sometimes, it’s a comfort, and others, it’s a nightmare. My impending deadlines are like Jack Torrance hacking down the door in “The Shining,” but the realization that I almost enjoy that rush of fear twists in my gut even more than the initial anxiety.
In another world, I am a football player a decade out of high school, the type that sits at a pub watching television, wondering what could have been. He knows the euphoria of an all-nighter in a way much different than me, but the highs and lows are the same. We stare glassy-eyed at the pros, the triple-major eboard-membership-holding summa-cum-laude-prospective Wonderlic-acing national-leaguers. We feel that want, that need to push on. He knows he’d break an ankle, and I know I’d pass out at the drop of a hat, but the itch is persistent and ignorant.
Logically, I’m learning that overworking myself isn’t worth it. Boundaries are an important thing to set, and the skill of prioritizing is one that needs honing and refining throughout all of life. I make my schedules and track my hours and count my commitments, and yet it always feels like I should be doing more. I’m not the only one — the amount of students who scoff at their accomplishments here is a direct attestation to that.
When I think about things to write an Opinions piece on, this topic comes to mind immediately — I’ve done another article on something similar, but it still seems relevant for me to note how important it is to be aware of yourself. The more you keep going, the less stopping seems to be an option. Thus, I keep going, hypocritically, and I’m sure many of you do, too. We “procrastinate” by filling our days with endless fodder, and consider ourselves “lazy” when we can’t get everything done promptly. We shoot up our veins and think of deadlines as a lifeline.
As you continue forward with your packed weeks, I beg you to consider the following: Is it worth it?
Sometimes I’m not even sure, but the question is still worth the ask. Maybe, if you find the answer, you can tell me. Maybe, somehow, we can get through this together.