Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Of Learning How to be Mellow

So I did something last week which I have never done in my college career (though which I'm sure that other people have done as well): I dropped a class. For college students, dropping a class is a regular endeavor. For me, who've always been known as the most studious (even when I'm trying not to be, such as right now), doing so is unheard of.

I attribute that to my personality, I don't like change, especially not when I've gotten comfortable. Being a control freak runs in my family, as exemplified by my mother who will rewash the dishes because she claims that the rest of us do not wash it properly (something that I find myself doing quite a bit here since my flatmates tend to rush a bit when they're washing dishes).

For me, control is knowing exactly what I want to do and when I want to do it, that's why I've always preferred written exams to multiple choice, I can control how well I do. It's no longer a simple A or B answer, I can place the results in my own hand...so to speak. I'm also a planner, never having been very good at wandering around aimlessly without a purpose: I get bored and just a bit antsy, the feeling of being lost makes me uncomfortable.

Which is why resolving to drop a class took a lot of thought for me; it was disrupting my schedule, it was potentially throwing 8 weeks work of class out the window.

It was also less to do and more time to work on classes that mattered.

The epiphany came to me as I was laying in bed last Friday night, wondering how I was going to finish 4 research papers in three weeks and being frustrated that I only had a workable thesis for one of them. Never one to be a procrastinator since I cannot take the stress of impending deadlines, I like to work ahead. But working on a paper two weeks before it was due seemed a bit ridiculous, even for me.

Then I got to thinking about my major requirements and realizing that because one of the courses I was taking, "Epic Tradition" did not actually fulfill any requirement for me at home that mattered, I was stressing out for a class that could potentially harm my grade rather than help it.

So what to do? I fell asleep at 7AM after laying awake and thinking about the pros and cons of each. Then I resolved to change my schedule as soon as I woke up.

The pros: Stress less, write better, more time to work on my art portfolio for my "Practical Art" class.

The most important pro: I'm learning how to better adapt to change and what's more, not to be afraid of it. It may be small as changing a class but so far, it's also been wandering aimlessly around Paris, Dublin, and so many other places without relying on a map, allowing other people to plan and navigate for me, and actually strolling these days instead of rushing from place to place. As my friend, Lana from Connecticut says, "I don't get why people are always booking it, you'll get there eventually."

In short: being a little less of a control freak. Though I still rewash dishes and carry a map in my bag for comfort. Every journey begins with a step.

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