I came here to work, so why am I not working? This has been repeating in my head for a good two days at least.
Seniors are told to “finish the year strong.”—a phrase that feels more and more thwarting every time it dances saccharinely through my recollection. It brings me more restlessness than motivation. A threat that perhaps I’m not doing as well as I should be.
Luckily, no one has seriously said it to me, but I think it every now and again as the countdown to graduation begins. I look at the next three months: book writing, art school application, finishing my first book and seeking publication, planning a month trip to Costa Rica, professional preparation, preparing to move to a different state after graduation….
Can’t I wheeze by? Doesn’t that count?
For most of my classes—formatted to small, intimate groups of people studying a subject in depth—wheezing by will make me the obvious weak link. The one who isn’t willing to work anymore and therefore sabotages the experience for everyone.
And I’m familiar enough with myself that I know I’m far too proud for that.
But is it really that I’ve lost all desire to work? I’m entering life, for crying out loud. How can I lose all desire to work now?
I’ll have to start structuring my life again, time managing and discipline and the like—which I get a little dark, whiny feeling inside just writing that down. Resorting to the life survival tool of time management feels like admitting defeat for some reason. Like I’m not really in control and can only try to organize the storm. That classes this semester are going to take over my life so I have to start putting up walls, making priorities, taking sides.
Like: Do I want to sleep or complete my novel? Or: Do I really have time to doodle babies right now…?
I understand I’ll be better off if I buckle down and work now, but why does it have to be so hard?
Why am I so incredibly unmotivated to the point where I’d rather go to bed early than do even what I love to do? Where things are feeling so repetitive and tedious that I simply can’t be bothered to care anymore? These days I feel like only my underlying perfectionism, this drive to excel and succeed and finish what I started, drags me along like dead weight on a string.
I blame stress. It usually freezes me up. Also, burnout. The undergraduate life is wearing on me.
In light of all this grumbling and muffled whining noises, I have spent the day organizing things, washing dishes, cleaning my room, doing laundry…things I have been putting off that have been slowly stripping my wires over the past week. I learned the three colors of acrylic ink I purchased are compatible with my dip pen. I also made pancakes and eggs and drank coffee from a mug with a map of Middle Earth on it. So that was cool.
All that to say I’m figuring out how to reconcile pride with necessity and find some kind of enjoyment in the middle ground.
Because I can’t stop here.