Learning to accept my comfort zone
September 11, 2010 § 20 Comments
Although it has only been two weeks since this new semester has started, I’m already feeling the burn and stress that I usually feel only when the first cycle of midterms come about. I know most of my classmates feel the same way too, what with graduate school applications, job searching and job interviews. The second day of classes felt like a month in already.
Many expect senior year to be easy. On the contrary, it has been the most stressful start for me by far (excluding Freshmen first semester). First week back I was immediately bombarded with Senior Thesis, classes, club meetings, orchestra rehearsals, and a combined number of 400-500 pages worth of stuff I have to read for the five classes I was taking. Why was? That, I’ll get to later.
I do not like to boast, so it’s the truth when I say that I go to a college of rather damn high prestige–a liberal arts school that trains scientists and engineers. Yes, students here are highly specialized and well-trained in both the liberal arts and science. Moreover, most students here are ridiculously smart. So smart that people who were in the top 10% of their graduating class in high school fell down to just average upon enrolling in this school. Stress becomes a frequent happening when you’re in this environment and trying to keep up your fellow classmates.
Up until a few hours ago, I had 16 credits listed down on my course schedule for this semester. Four classes, research, and orchestra. Now I have 14.5, and I am glad I dropped a course that was dropping work on us that was just way over my head. Initially I felt horrible about the thought of dropping that Music History class. After all, 16 credits was only the average amount of credits that students take here. The thought of taking less credit per semester made me feel like I was lazy and not a hardworking student who stays up till 2am everyday finishing up homework.
And then I thought, why would I want to stay up till 2am everyday to do homework? That would just cause more stress on my part. Why must I be like everybody else? If I were to look back on my college years 10 years from now, would I regret not having more time to socialize? Besides, I’d much rather concentrate and actually learn from the few handful of classes I have than having too much to handle and half-heartedly learning things that I would only forget two weeks later. I should be able to do what I feel comfortable doing, and not compare myself to others. I must accept who I am, what I’m capable of, and embrace that. Only when I find a balance will I be happy.
Much like yoga, each person’s body differs in strength, flexibility, and endurance. While one certain pose may be a cinch for one student, it may take weeks, months or even years for the other to master it. The latter student, however, may in turn find some other poses easier than for the first student. Yoga is not a competition to see who can do the perfect monkey pose or who can hold crane pose the longest. Yoga is about listening to your body and accepting what your body can do. Those who often compare themselves to others are those who are more likely to get injured because they are pushing their bodies over what they can handle at that point in time. You alone knows what’s best for your body. If your teacher pushes you to stretch past your limit, be sure to inform them. You do not want to come home from a yoga class with a pulled muscle or tendon and hate yoga for that.
Learn to love your flaws, because then you have something you can improve on. How boring would it be if you were born perfect? You’d be able to learn anything and everything in a matter of seconds, leaving your life empty of goals to strive towards. Accept what you can and cannot do, because that is what makes you you and interesting.
So what if I average 14.5 credits each semester instead of the typical 15, 16, or even 19 credits that some or most students here take? I am now at my comfort zone, a place of balance. I may still be a busy bee 6.5 days out of 7, but it will be a different kind of busyness. This new busyness will be filled with meaningful gains of knowledge instead of stressful cramming.
Do I regret dropping a course that I find rather fascinating? Yes, but at least I have the textbook that I can read and learn at my leisure. Besides, who doesn’t want to be enlightened by how music came about in Ancient Rome and Greece, and its transformation throughout the Middle Ages till the era of Bach? Okay, perhaps only me.
Although I merely dropped Music of Western Civilization and added Intermediate Modern Dance, I feel as if I’ve pushed the reset button for my first semester of senior year. I am excited at what awaits me.