A Promise to Myself

I’m the kind of person who likes to have a little bit of everything in his life. Variety is necessary for me to stay sane. I tend to get restless when I’m missing some aspect of my life, but then again, I also get bored when there’s too much of something in my life.

So for second year, I promised myself that I would find my balance and do everything I wanted to do to the best of my ability. I was going to study harder, work harder, go out with my classmates and party harder, explore the depths of my mind and psyche through deep introspection, and attain levels of relaxation rivaling those of a boulder in a rock garden. I can say with confidence that I’ve fulfilled the first half of that promise (study, work, and partying).

Having survived first year, I have a pretty good handle on studying now. It’s an art form. You have to set the “mood.” Yes, you could just jump into it, but where’s the fun in that? My process is simple: set up your work space, make distractions invisible, be comfortable, follow a study method, and take breaks. When you do that, the studying comes a little more easily.

I’ve taken a work-study position as a tutor. It was necessary to offset at least some of my spending. I also get to work on my communication skills. Having to explain concepts to students and adapt to their way of learning is giving me some insight into how I express ideas. Tutoring also helps me brush up on first year material, which is awesome because it’s like I’m getting paid to study for boards.

And now: partying. I’ve gone out more in the first month of second year than I did for all of first year. I’ve had a blast with my class mates and increased my tolerance for alcohol (I’m not sure if that’s good or bad). So yeah. It has been fun.

It hasn’t all been about good vibes, productivity and fun though.

I still feels like I’m on the grind. First year felt like running 20 miles along a manicured path every day. This year feels like going for a 10 mile run on the same path, only now, it has been severely neglected. I’m still spending a significant amount of my time at school or studying – but that is what I signed up for when I applied to ICO. I shouldn’t be complaining. It just gets repetitive. It’s too much of the same thing for me.

The other problem is that my promise has been fulfilled at the expense of sleep, nutrition… physical and mental exhaustion. There isn’t enough time in a day to do everything I want to do.

Anything done well takes a significant amount of time. It seems impossible to fit all of my interests into my daily life (and trust me, there’s a lot.)

Over the past week or two I’ve been wrestling with the realization that I’ve expected too much of myself. I’m starting to find my footing; I need to be more realistic if I want to survive second year. I’ve imposed limits on some of the things I do so that I have more time for my priorities and I’m using my calendar to help manage my time.

I’ve also been catching up on sleep, which is nice.

My promise has been tweaked a bit. The emphasis is no longer on work hard, play hard. I need to be realistic after all.

I’m kind of partied out for a while, so my focus now is on “quiet social engagements.” School has always been a priority, but I need to be more organized when it comes to my work and studies. I’ve cut down a bit on work-study hours now that tests have started. I need to prioritize my health and rest – I’m thinking of no-work Sundays. And if at all possible, I would like to read and explore my thoughts in my spare time. That would probably be on Sundays. The rest of my interests will be pursued on a how-I-feel-in-the-moment basis.

So yea. What have you promised yourself?

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