COLUMN: Relying on the Routine
Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 23:10
Well, ladies and gentlemen, congratulations. We’ve done it again.
And by ‘done it again,’ I mean bury ourselves into the ground.
As mid-October approaches, the fact is as undeniable as the chill in the air:
We are back on the daily grind.
After “a summer off,” filled with internships, part-time jobs, extra classes, traveling around the world, full-time jobs, and visiting various east coast destination spots, we all flocked back to Chestnut Hill to start yet another year of well, everything else.
Throughout September, as we made the adjustment back to campus, one phrase (or some variation) seemed to float throughout the student body:
“I can’t wait to get back into a routine.”
We were all so eager to get a grip on everything, all at once: figure out our classes, establish our weekly lunch dates, start all our extra-curricular activities. For the ladies on campus, every plan made was a chance to break in that newly bought planner or agenda book, just waiting to be filled with the color-coding system of your choice.
And then, it was almost mid-October.
I’ll be the first to admit: I could not wait to find a routine. I’m a creature of habit: I eat the same foods, drink my coffee the same way (straight black, as only the real addicts do), run the same paths around campus, frequent the same study spot.
Until my days are nailed down to a T, my entire world feels in flux. There is ‘the schedule,’ and there is ‘being free.’ There is no in between.
Congratulations, Boston College. We did it. We are back in the routine.
Tell me, how’s it treating you?
Because, to be honest, I’m drowning.
And I know I’m not alone.
I don’t just know this from what I hear around the Rat, or the anxious looks I see in classes, or the frantic air that envelops the entire campus during midterms. I know this because it is the type of student BC attracts: the overeager, the overcommitted, the overachiever. We are too enthused to do too much and do it all exceptionally well.
The result? The overachiever has become overworked, overwhelmed, and overcome.
And what are we going to do about it? Nothing. Because that’s who we are, and that’s what we do, and that’s how we operate.
Last February, I wrote a column in which I posed the question:
“What have you done this week to set the world aflame?”
Much in the same style as this rant, the column questioned the presence of Jesuit ideology in our daily life, and how we fool ourselves into thinking it’s there. As I read that piece in preparation for today’s issue, I realized that nothing had changed since my so-called revelation.
I didn’t really expect it to.
So instead of questioning our entire existence and purpose here at Boston College, attempting to enact this big change of heart through campus, I’m just going to let you be.
Because really, at this point, we are all back in the daily grind. Nothing I say or you say or your professors say will change that. There will always be papers to read, essays to write, people to see, and the ever-present to-do list.
For us overachievers, forgoing the routine is not an option.
Overhauling the systematics engrained in us is not feasible.
And, to be honest, the majority of us would not want to do so.
The remedy for overachievers, I have found, is simply to take a break. Relax just long enough to recharge, and remember why it is we do all that we do (so exceptionally well).
With Columbus Day comes the first real opportunity to break from the routine—without consequences. Whether it be on an RV to Clemson, curled up at home, or here on campus—give yourself a moment to breathe. The routine will be awaiting you come Tuesday.
Just as you like it.