I completed my first week of school (YAY!) without completely regretting my decision to continue working on my degree. It actually was quite a good week, but a lot of what made it good was my attitude and work ethic. I will let you in on a little secret: I value my personal time and I hate having it cluttered with school work. All my memories as a youth bring me back to long nights wasting away in front of a computer screen contemplating whether or not I could get my hands on caffeine pills. Actually, my debacle with caffeine pills is quite an interesting story and sums up nicely why I have changed my attitude about school and work in general.
I first heard about ‘caffeine pills’ in high school. I ran with the honors crowd in school, and most of my friends were overachievers. They would come into school and tell heart wrenching tales about how they were running on only two or three hours of sleep because they had been up all night studying and doing homework. I was always in awe of these people, I couldn’t believe how hard they worked! I wondered to myself whether or not I was working hard enough. When I began to take more advanced courses in high school, I too started staying up late doing homework. I actually felt that I was doing the right thing, staying up late and all. When I went into school the next morning, running on only two or three hours of sleep, I felt accomplished. Even when I was falling asleep in class because I was so tired, I still felt proud. It was not for quite some time that I noticed my method of staying up late and going into school exhausted actually hurt my studies.
Towards the end of my late nights in high school, I considered taking caffeine pills. It would help me when I was falling asleep in class after being up all night. At the time, I seriously contemplated it. I never thought about the implications on my health, I never really thought about my own well-being. I simply thought about how I needed to keep up with my friends and how I needed to be smart to get into a good college and keep up with my personal appearances. The straw that broke the camels back came after months of not getting enough sleep. My body was drained, my grades seemed to be slipping ever so slightly, and I found that I was getting sick all the time. One week I would have a cold, and the next week I would have the flu. I finally put two and two together, and realized that maybe I should get some sleep! After about a week of getting a decent nights sleep every night, I felt so much better. When I was feeling better, and I was of sound mind, I realized I was foolish to even attempt what I did.
Now, I have adopted a different method of dealing with school work. I have found that professors almost always assign more homework than necessary, and is usually “busy work”. Busy work is non-essential work imposed upon students to keep them, well, busy. I now find that I cannot do every single bit of homework assigned. I would be wasting away all of my time with homework if I tried doing it all. My new method for combating homework is to do as much of the important work as possible. I no longer do busy work assignments. Instead, I take that time to review the material I have learned and I move on. University, at least to me, is not about the grades. University is about what I learn. If all I do is stress about the homework I have not done yet, I will never learn. Stress is the ultimate evil. It traps a person, it prevents us from being free.
This weekend I am relaxing and not stressing over homework. It will get done at some point, but the weekends are for me to indulge in what I like. I woke up this morning, and then I went back to sleep. I was tired! The weekends are my time, I hope they are designed for your time as well. Take care of yourself.