Feeling alone as you swim through the terrifying waters known as the college admission process? Have no fear! We have several seniors blogging about ups, downs, and random in-betweens of their college process for the next 12 months (from June 2014 to June 2015!). Sit back, relax, and get that “OMG I totally get you, bro” feeling. Information for how to contact a blogger will be at the bottom of his/her posts.
Some of you, at least, are no doubt familiar with the concept of spacetime–a great deal of you probably moreso than me, who has had the rudimentary physics class explanation, with as much of a grasp as I need to use the concept as a catalyst for explicating more mundane concerns. The general idea is that space and time are really a united continuum; rather than existing as separate dimensions of, respectively, three and one dimensions, spacetime constitutes four dimensions, at least in one early conception.
This should be where I make the analogy comparing the trajectory of college apps, defined by explicitly temporal facets such as deadlines listed on computer screens, and the ubiquitous three dimensions of everyday life, with the spatial resonance of school–where I note that, in one’s senior fall, the surfeit of commitments is a continuum like spacetime.
But to be honest, I’m too worn out to make it persuasive. So you’ll have to take me at my word, unaided (unfettered, rather?) by metaphors, when I say that senior fall is a lot more intense than I realized it would be.
Careful readers of this series of missives may have picked up on a possible, vague throughline of my beginning to truly understand what had before been abstraction–the world showing, not telling, what was in store. Among the most important epiphanies is the realization that there is simply not enough time.
I could take this time–this space, this spacetime–and enumerate every single thing I have to do, should be doing right now, but that might prove not only mind-numbing but also glib on my part. The vast majority of you, I’m sure, understand what it means to be hyper-committed. I’ll let you fill in the blanks on that one. But that being said, the problem, as always, isn’t what needs to be done, or even the confluence: it’s the fact that there are only so many hours in the day. And sometimes we need to sleep.
Nothing new under the sun, or even the lunar eclipse that I was awake during at approximately 5:30 am this morning, though I was too busy studying for an art history exam to go outside and see for myself. But everything becomes a little clearer through experience, and here’s some things I’ve realized:
It’s important to breathe. As appealing as it may seem to pack your schedule full to bursting for maximum effect, there need to be times where, at the very least, you’re resting in the form of an adequate night’s sleep (at least 3 nights out of the week? I’m lowballing here). As I say this, I know I will not take my own advice at any point in the near future, but it doesn’t change the fact that one can’t perpetuate a cycle of low energy and exhaustion. Depreciation of efficacy will almost certainly ensue.
Complaining can help! This is important for some people, especially in the form of compassionate commiseration. Here’s an idea: get with a peer (friend, acquaintance, significant other) and complain to your hearts’ contents. Talk about how much you have to do. Make long, spiraling verbal lists and expound at length, taking care not to fall victim to competing over who has it worse–just allow yourselves to vent. Venting can prove helpful! But not for too long, because you actually have to do the work.
Sometimes it makes it worse to pressure yourself. This is not one-size-fits-all advice (I’d hasten to say that no advice is, especially not any contained within the parameters of my personal, monthly corner of the Prospect), but personally, I’ve found that when I’m swamped with work, falling down the rabbit hole of “I need to do x, y and z, especially y, and if x isn’t completed to (z*.4) specifications, and y doesn’t result in this particular set of happenstances, and z fails to turn out as hoped for, then through a series of possible but honestly worst case scenarios, everything in my life will fall apart, and the things that don’t fall apart will be for naught, and I’ll be [insert some comically “destitute” situation here].” This never works for anyone. It doesn’t motivate as much as paralyze, and, of course, takes up spacetime that should be used actually being productive.
And of course, your worth is not actually defined by any of this! Do you, dear Reader, come to this column of mine for such platitudes? I suppose not, so perhaps feel grateful: it’s like an extra 20% of cereal in the box (and emblazoned on the side of the box, always! in perpetuity). At any rate, you are a person. Even if you fall asleep at 7:36 pm and wake up sixteen minutes after your alarm with six classes’ worth of homework incomplete and seven deadlines missed in the night, you do not constitute any less of a worthwhile person. I can’t promise you that everything will be okay, not in the least because I don’t know what your parameters for okay are. But if you come find me sometime later, when we’re both less busy, we can talk about it at length. I’ll listen with all the spacetime we have left.
Want to get in touch with Jacob? Fill out our Contact form, and he’ll write you back ASAP!