Anything at all
I keep trying to figure out if last year I didn’t want to do anything or if last year I was terrified of doing anything. This, of course, isn’t in reference to my classes — after all, I made it through my freshman year, and that wasn’t nothing (which is more than being something). But beyond school work, my obligations were few and far between.
In the moment, and even now on occasion, I told myself that nothing felt enjoyable during COVID. I didn’t want to take a virtual salsa class or learn the history of swimming. And to that extent, I didn’t want to go on weekend trips hiking in the woods, nor did I want to explore Boston in the spring. I simply wanted to go from my bed, to my desk, to dining, to my desk, to bed, lather, repeat. I wasn’t depressed (at least to my knowledge). I was just scared and tired.
I was mostly scared of failing at school, something I (and certainly many students here) hadn’t experienced before college. I didn’t want to fail an assignment, test, or even worse, a class. Of course, no one wants this to happen to them. But it felt like grades still had/have a death grip over my ability to breathe. This spiraled into what felt like an endless lack of a want to do anything unnecessary. I could spend the next four years like this: only focusing on work, keeping my head down, and simply pushing through the years. But I tried that last year, and I don’t want it anymore. It is debatable whether or not I wanted it to begin with, but with things being back in-person, I at least have the drive to want more for myself.
So, here I am, trying to do something. I am putting myself out there without fear of stretching myself too thin. I am now (evidently) writing for The Tech, and in CoMM (Community for Math Majors), and doing things that motivate me. I like to write, and I like questioning educational practices. And maybe I will overexert myself — but I find this scenario to be much less frightening than doing nothing but school.
I have also been learning how to do nothing. Two months ago, a friend who goes to school in New York asked if I would want to see a concert in Provincetown. The idea of going off campus and spending time not psetting or studying (especially without knowing when midterms would be) was terrifying. So I said yes. And thus, last Friday, I packed a small suitcase, got on the red line to Braintree, met with my friends, and drove to Provincetown. It was so freeing. I let myself not stress over work, and for the first time since the beginning of the semester, a weight was lifted from my shoulders.
I am putting myself out there and taking space for myself. My school work is still very important to me, but I think there has to be a reasonable balance between work and fun (an obvious statement that I refused to accept before this year). I am hopeful that I will look back on how I spent my time in college and be grateful that I did something more than go to school.