There I was-- out of ammo, behind enemy lines, bad guys all around-- nothing but a knife, a backpack, two math books, some paper, a laptop, and a cup of... er... coffee?
Some days it seems that way; the odds stacked completely against me, no hope of survival or rescue. It's not that I'm in a particularly bad place. A large college campus is pretty safe most of the time, especially in daylight, and no one has ever done anything to make me feel anything but safe. Students generally try not to step on one another's toes or run into each other on purpose. Not saying everyone's nice, but real buttheads are rare. The whole "world not safe" issue isn't an issue here, really. It's somehow comforting when you see a guy hop out of a truck with a bucket of salt/sand to make sure you don't slip and fall on the way to class.
The reason I feel like I'm stuck behind the lines is that I never, ever, seem to have enough time. I also feel like I never, ever seem to have as much time as anyone else. Whenever I'm running to work, to catch the bus, to get something to eat, to get anywhere I need to go, I pass students hard at work studying. "That should be me," I hear myself saying, "I should be studying right now, and I'm not, and that's a bad thing."
Note the key words here: never, ever, seem, and should. Those are words that the brain makes up as an emotional (not a logical) reaction to stress. And brother-- I'm stressed. 13 hours of in class time, plus 31 hours of work this week, plus 1 1/2 hours a day on the bus to and from home, plus time to eat, sleep, relax, and oh yeah-- study. When I add it up, it seems that there are not enough hours in the day. Not nearly enough. How much time in a day do I spent stressing, worrying, and trying to keep it all straight? Far too much.
I feel like I always need to turn it up a notch, do better, get more done.
People ask me: "Why do you work so much? You're always tired." My answer is always the same. Food, clothing, and shelter cost money, and I don't have anyone else to lean on for support. Friends, yes. Sugar friends, no. I've been a couch surfer before, and that's not living. You could argue that working myself into the ground isn't living either. I say it beats not knowing where I'm sleeping tonight.
Tonight, I said to a friend, "I work to much, I sleep too little, and I never have enough time." My friend's response? "You sound like every college student I've ever known."
Image credit: Life