Oberlin Blogs


November 30, 2014

Simbarashe Runyowa ’15

Today is the Sunday marking the end of Thanksgiving break, and I stayed on campus with the sole intention of getting a lot, and I mean a lot, of things done. On my list, I had to finish my grad school applications, finish writing the first chapter of my honors thesis, complete an economics problem set, prepare for an upcoming job interview, apply to several more jobs, plan my winter break, complete more homework, organize my future life, and of course enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with my host family. And to also write this blog. I had been putting off many of these things and just shoved them into the space "to do during Thanksgiving break."

I accomplished none of these things besides eating with my host family.

Am I lazy? Am I crazy? What happened?

The answer is clear. I am severely lacking in motivation to complete these very, very important tasks. Which is weird because it is completely unlike me to have such an appalling degree of work ethic. I am usually very hardworking, organized, and conscientious about my work. I have always been a driven student ever since I was very young. So what's going on with me?

The answer is I feel lethargic. And lethargy is the polar opposite of momentum. Without motivation, it's hard to do your best. The problem with being in senior year is that the end is so near and you've used up pretty much all the steam and tricks you used in the past to keep you going. For now, I feel ready to collect my degree and go on the next adventure. You realize that, gee, four years is a long time to have been doing something (being in college). At this point I am eager to move on to the next thing. But what is that next thing? I don't actually know, so I spend a lot of time thinking about that. And that can be a source of paralysis, because then I can't focus on my work.

These days, I am inundated with work and other tasks that I have to do cost-benefit analyses on a daily basis. The question I am faced with is, what is the best use of my time right now? Does it make sense for me to do this homework assignment right now or to apply to this great-looking job opportunity? Will it matter if I don't turn in this grammar homework and my GPA decreases by 0.0000000000000000001? Will it matter tomorrow? Next year? 5 years from now? Usually, when I do this kind of analysis, I decide that the value of doing something related to the bigger picture is actually more pressing than an urgent-seeming school-related task.

I recently got back an exam for a class that I am taking Pass/Fail. The professor wrote back on my paper, "Fine, but you can do better." I felt a little disappointed in myself that I wasn't putting in my best. But then I realized that sometimes you don't always have to put the best of yourself into every single minute little thing. At this point in my college career, perspective is really important. What really matters, in the larger scheme of things? Sometimes, it has to be about self-preservation. In the quest to succeed succeed succeed, you have to salvage pieces of yourself, your stability, your well-being, for yourself. I can't sacrifice all of me at the altar of GPAs and resume-building.

So do I have senioritis? Yes, I have loads of it. But I also understand why. And I am taking steps to cure this malaise.

Vacation, anyone?

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