Don’t forget to breathe

By Kimberly Marion

“Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books: Or surely you’ll grow double: Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks; Why all this toil and trouble?” – William Wordsworth

Ah, words of a man who knows how to enjoy himself. Many people take life, especially college life, for granted. Your entire life should not be consumed with books and the insides of your room.

I am not saying you should neglect your studies, but there must be a balance. Everything is not learned in books alone. Life can be a more appropriate teacher because you lived it. It is something personal. Life should not be stalled or lived vicariously through words written on a page.

This may be hard for some students and sometimes it is hard for me. To alleviate the stress and increase the balance between work and play, I have a few tips to help you.

“Our meddling intellect/Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things … ” – Wordsworth

First, set time for yourself every day and do something you enjoy. Give your mind a break. Let your brain shut down for a while; it needs to rest as well. Thinking too much can muddy the things you enjoy. Sometimes you just need to stop thinking and live.

Another suggestion is to learn how to manage your time. It can be as simple as saying: “I am going to do my work at this time and then do whatever I please at this time.” Having blocks of time scheduled for activities – or a lack of activities – somewhat forces you to stick to some kind of schedule. On severely busy weeks, you may have to adjust your plans a little, but at least the roots for a schedule exist.

When you find yourself doing nothing or watching a reality show (which is basically the same thing), do something productive instead. Make the trek to the rarely used Chick Evans Field House or attend one of the many free events sponsored by the Campus Activities Board.

The last tip I have concerns a problem I have myself: procrastination. If you do things gradually, it will mitigate the stress you will have. It also helps you organize time for yourself.

“Books! ‘tis a dull and endless strife …” – Wordsworth

Do not get confused by the message of my article and the excerpts I use from Wordsworth. It does not mean I do not do any work. Of course I read and do work; I am an English major. But school does not consume my entire life.

Life is lived only once. Why not enjoy it while you can? Break yourself of any habits that may provoke you to become an academic zombie. You do not want to look back on your life once you have settled down and say, “I wish I had …” This sentiment goes out to seniors especially. Soon we will graduate and look for jobs.

“Come forth, and bring with a heart/That watches and receives …” – Wordsworth

Allow yourself to be open. The text you may be studying will always be there. But life will not wait for you. It flies by, hoping you will jump on for the ride.

Columns reflect the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the Northern Star staff.