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The Mess I Created

Ana Purchiaroni, C'23

On the Outside Looking In Blog

I guess that old saying of biting off more than you can chew is true. Pushing yourself to get involved in a lot of things is really great and doing many things outside of just being a student can be very beneficial, but it is a double-edged sword.

The atmosphere on campus has shifted dramatically since we were here a week ago. The leaves have changed from hues of green to flaming reds, oranges and yellows. The air has gotten crisp and the urge to cross your arms or walk with your hands deep in your pockets becomes stronger. More clubs are hosting bigger events, and academics have switched from slowly easing into the material to rigorous workloads and hefty deadlines. While Fall Break was relaxing, coming back can be a jarring experience as all your responsibilities and engagements stare you down the minute you step back onto campus.

It can be hard, coming back to the mess you have created for yourself. Most people think that it is a chance to come back renewed, bright eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to face the oncoming challenges. However, I think it is more of a rude awakening from a nice rest into a slug’s race to get to Thanksgiving Break. For me, I feel a bit stuck once again as my old habits of staying inside and watching the world from a distance flood back to me. I retreat in my corner, but the seeds I planted at the beginning of the semester by joining every club have begun to sprout and cannot be ignored. I have so many things I have to do that force me to leave the corner and continue on.

I play a part in the mainstage play and another part in a one-act play as well as serve as the president of the K-pop club (which has barely taken off), a member of anime club, and now the assistant art designer for the literary magazine. All of that on top of regular coursework for my classes that involve me going to the art studio, researching about careers, applying to part-time jobs, and of course chugging along on my senior honors project. Writing it all out, that is a whole lot; and I’m sure you all are doing even more than I am.

So how do I balance it all? Well, I don’t. Honestly coming back from break to my own mess, the consequences of my own actions have spilled over, and I find it hard to make time for each individual thing. I am not the type of person to map things out and schedule different times for different things. I realize I cannot carry this much and expect myself to be able to have time to try socializing and making friends. There are not enough hours in the day.

My engagements have started to clash. Anime club is around the time that I should be setting up for K-pop club. Rehearsal for the mainstage play cuts into Asian Culture club’s regular meetings. SGA meetings bite at the heels of my art class. Going to the art studio proves to be difficult as there are classes happening in there at all hours of the day it seems. Now rehearsal for the one-act is becoming an issue and eating into regular class time. Everything seems to be clashing with everything, forcing me to choose between engagements or not fully commit myself to one over the other. And when everything clashes with everything and I try to commit myself to all things, nothing ends up happening.

Already I have begun to detach myself from all these things, feeling like it’s too much and putting most of them off or not showing up at all. This is probably not a good thing to admit, but I pledged from the beginning to be open and honest about my failures, and this is one of them. I’ve spent my free time scrolling on TikTok for hours and staring at the wall until the last possible moment when I have to leave for class. My nails are sore and down to the quick from biting them so often, my hygiene has plummeted, and its only Wednesday (as of writing this).

I hope that in being open about this, just one person can feel seen and relate to this feeling of giving up when the intensity of life is turned to high. I hope that you know that this feeling will not last forever, and if I can get through it, so can you.

Of course, I want to end on a relatively high note as I reflect on how to better the situation. I guess that old saying of biting off more than you can chew is true. Pushing yourself to get involved in a lot of things is really great and doing many things outside of just being a student can be very beneficial, but it is a double-edged sword. Do not expect yourself to do more than you can handle. If just being a student and being a member of a club is enough for you then do not let anyone else tell you that it is not enough. Only you know your limit. So, this week and next, I invite you to look at your own schedule and decide how much of it you can do while still maintaining yourself, your friendships and your sanity. This time between the end of Fall Break and the beginning of Thanksgiving Break, remember to take things one at a time. One event, one class, one assignment, one breath at a time.

Ana Purchiaroni, C'23