For college students, money is precious. There’s tuition, food, textbooks, extra fees and the usual bills to pay. And perhaps this is true, but to me, especially as an art major, the most valuable thing is time.
Last semester, I juggled 16 hours of classes and 19 hours of work. If each class requires three hours of out-of-class time, then that’s where I was. I wrote two research papers due within 10 days of each other and aced them both. I stayed up late studying, writing, painting and sometimes working. I had to wake up by 8 a.m. Friday mornings, when the week’s labor took the greatest toll on me. It was exhausting.
This semester is just as tiring. My days begin at 7:30 a.m., when I wake, and end around 1 a.m. All of my classes begin around 4 p.m. and end at 7 p.m., 10 p.m.on Mondays and Wednesdays. When I get home, all I want to do is sleep.
I have an internship that I have to worry about now, more drawing to do than ever before and I’m starting to stay late in the art studios again. I have one advanced history course that requires the usual writing and reading that most advanced history courses have. My responsibilities at work stay the same, but there will always be times where I’ll get more assignments.
Traveling around campus all day and squeezing in a bite to eat made me realize how precious time is to me. I need time to research, time to write, time to draw, time to learn and time to eat. I even need time to remember.
There’s so much to do in one day in order to get ready for the next day. If it takes longer than I thought for any assignment, my to do list gets pushed back. My work just piles up.
Everyone tells me to take a break, but, honestly, there’s no time for one. Short-term responsibilities butt heads with the long term, adding to my anxiety.
There’s pressure to graduate on time, to meet internship and graduate school deadlines, to look for jobs, scholarships and to make life-altering decisions when all I’ve experienced is the school “bubble.” I understand the importance of a break, of “fun,” but sometimes it’s hard to devote time for that when responsibilities loom.
When I happen to be doing nothing, I worry about the consequences. What if I never get that assignment done? What if I don’t have the time I need to study?I look calm on the outside, but on the inside my mind clouds with constant worry.
The worst part about all of this is that I know others are having a worse time than I am. I know people who pull all-nighters with a similar schedule to mine.My friends commute from Brownsville to Edinburg, and that’s already a huge chunk out of their day. One friend goes to school full time, has three jobs and works graveyard shifts. I have friends with families to love and look after, with bills to pay, children to worry about and jobs to maintain.
In a way, I sound like I’m just complaining. Maybe I am. But my exhaustion is real, my back pain is real and my feelings are genuine. I can’t change any of that.
Everyone has their own burdens to bear. Some burdens may be bigger than others, but that doesn’t mean the consequential feelings are any different.In the end, it really is a matter of how one approaches his or her problems.
Life for me is often a rut, but the little things still remind me that I’m still living.Eating lunch with friends, listening to new music by my favorite artists and just talking to family keeps me content.
Time is difficult to manage, but it possible. I just wish there were more of it.