by Jackie

It begins slowly.  Like the opening reel of film with a panoramic view of an urban neighborhood; there is a rustle in the trees, leaves blowing across the cement, and people strolling.  It arrives sweltering with anticipation and enthusiasm – the new semester that is.

Film transition: contrast cut.  Mid-semester. Things are in motion.  The protagonist is slightly disheveled, sleeping a lot less.  Tension ascends steadily from the back of her shoulders to the base of her neck.  “Balancing” is the word touted to suggest that she is doing her best to hold. it. all. together.  And things continue in motion.

As a student, I can appreciate the difficulty of managing all of the goodness that comes with scholastic life – classes, assignments, readings, research, etc.  For me, the new semester is exactly like written above.  I find myself calm and ready for new challenges and then I am quickly absorbed in a rapid sprint-like pace crossing one thing off the to-do list only to replace it with 3 more things.  If anyone knows a student then you know we become masters of multi-tasking.  A student can toggle between 12 computer windows, while listening to music, sending a text, eating a snack, and talking to an office mate like no one’s business.  And admittedly I have become obsessed with my smart phone.  Seriously – checking emails like it is the saline drip I need to remain hydrated.  Obsessive might be a good word to describe my overall preoccupation with school.  And suddenly 7 weeks into the semester it seems like there will be a brief respite from the anxiety and overwhelming feelings.

Take three.  Spring break is coming and I plan to take a few days to do nothing.  I am so grateful for the ever-present mentors, friends, loved-ones, pinterest, my beautiful dog Molly, faith, personal characteristics, and flaws that get me through chaos.  So while my rather decent organizational skills and slightly overbearing ambition help me manage all of the responsibilities of being a student, I am glad to have a chance to regroup and start afresh.  A little bit of nature, a visit with some long-lost friends, and maybe even reading for fun will all be in store for me.  I’ll take some time to reflect on what I am doing.  I’ll fuel my passion for social work.  I’ll strengthen my resolve to help others, by doing what is fundamental to the helping process; I will care for myself.

To all of my fellow students, just remember the pinnacle of our success is in the interactions we have with the clients and communities we serve.  So, we can do our best in school, but also remember that life happens outside of these brick walls.  And I can’t help but recall the words of Dr. Seuss:

“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.” ~ Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

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