Monday, January 10, 2011

Perspective

This is a post I wrote for our Northwestern MSC blog. It's about how to get yourself out of a crappy mood when life is hard:

Ok ok so I'm beginning to realize that first quarter isn't at all indicative, nor good time-management training, for the following quarters. It's Day Two of the second quarter and already things are heating up--reading, papers, presentations, seminars...I MISS ROLOFF!

Admittedly, I was throwing a bit of a pity-party for myself today. With the two-hundred plus pages I have to read this weekend, on top of two papers due on the same day (in three and a half weeks), plus a savings account to worry about, a job, finding a new roommate, and all the other little life moments that get thrown into the mix, I was stressin'. Yep, it wasn't good, and worse, I was beginning to wonder why I don't just give up.

So let's humor my neuroses for a minute and think about what "giving up" would mean. It would mean not contributing to inspiring classes. It would mean leaving a world-renowned university that offers a program more inclusive and compromising than most. It would mean quitting a job that, although frustrating, has taught me more about the working world than any amount of scholarly reading could do. It would mean leaving an amazing city, chock-full of world-class sports, food, music, art...the list goes on. And most importantly, it would mean letting go of a dream that, less than six months ago, was making me anxiously sick with excitement.

So, when the going gets tough, don't concede. Don't let yourself get going, playing into the fears and paranoia that's so easy to let take over. Put it in perspective. Remind yourself of why you're here. And what you've learned. And what will be in-store for you once it's complete. It's tough now, and my life isn't nearly as busy as those with families, illnesses, births, moves, etc that others are also have to balance. Let's be grateful for the opportunity bestowed on us, that of being able to earn an education. It's one of those great gifts, expensive, rare, and so fantastically un-returnable. It's mine forever.

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