Autumn, to me, is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. While everyone loves to go out, take pictures of the landscape with trees that look like multi-colored works of art, it reminds me of the old grey shovel in my backyard. It’s mostly that transition phase when the trees undress as the leaves start to fall. Now, I love Autumn but not what follows.
Hello, dearest readers! Keeping me company is this howling wind and the veering air as I throw crushed paper balls in the bin behind. It is hard to come up with something, especially when you don’t write so often. However, after much-failed attempts, I decided to share this crazy inclination of mine. As exams draw near and the stress builds up, I find myself watching the news every day, exercising more often, and doing everything productive except studying. Yes, I am a complex being with myriad interests, but the funny thing is once exams are over, these good practices just disappear. It is probably the result of my habit of leaving things until the last minute that I find myself overwhelmed with work. Then the stress builds up, in response to which I turn to activities that are so close and comforting that I find myself immersed with things I enjoy doing. The time that I could have been spending on research or studying is, instead, spent on the instantly gratifying activities. I even found the time to volunteer several times a week, yet I wasn’t making time to stay put on something that actually matters right now. Yes, I did enjoy and made the best of every activity I participated in, networking with great people. Still, every night, there was an uneasy feeling, one of regret, and made me feel like I was looking past the forewarnings, each time. This made me restless, and I spent most nights watching Netflix to offset the feeling, something they call instant gratification.
If you aren’t already aware, instant gratification is when you want to feel happy instantaneously. Playing games, for instance, leads to outbursts of dopamine in your system, a drug that makes you happy. You feel like you have achieved so much in so little time, a reason why we do it so often. Similarly, watching comedy was the road I took to counteract stress. As I type now, I realize that just like the sense of smell can tell you if something is fresh or not, the feeling of anxiety tells you whether you should keep going on or it is time to make specific changes. Yes, it brought more comfort, but somewhere in my heart, I knew what was happening. As a result, things started piling up. This was self-sabotage!
“People who grow up without a sense of how yesterday has affected today are unlikely to have a strong sense of how today affects tomorrow.”
– Lynne Cheney
Persistent indulgence in instant gratification is a short-cut to long-term dismay. You start to feel unhappy. Many of us would agree that we unlock the phone to start on a task, only to end up surfing the net for hours. When one is so close to obtaining a reward/satisfaction, it’s almost impossible to resist the urge to chase it. We act impulsively, only to end up regretting later. In the short time that I have been here, I am sure we all have had an intense learning curve in time management and prioritization, something that Sydney Collins wrote about in her blog.
“There is nothing so stable as change”
– Bob Dylan
This brings me to a more important topic: Change. Just like you won’t eat it if the food doesn’t smell fresh, you don’t continue the same habits if it does not improve your circumstances. It is essential to understand what makes you happy versus what is just a waste of time. Your studies are important, but so is your happiness and sanity. Go for a walk, hang out with friends, engage in things that will have to come to an end sooner rather than doing things that you have no control over. For instance, I can spend hours and hours on social media apps and Netflix, but the chance of it being productive is almost negligible. Then I’ll utter the same old phrase, “I used to go swimming, which was so much fun before I started university, but then I just didn’t have time.” It’s never the right time or place for anything, yet someone is jogging out there, someone cooks regularly, someone has a job, and yet they all find the time to complete assignments and stay up to date with lectures.
“Feeling unsettled is difficult and uncomfortable, but it also means you are exploring, and you haven’t reached the end of your journey”
– Christina Prokopenko
It’s that time of the year again; final exams begin tomorrow. It is time to make corrections and prepare, for Winter is coming…