A few days ago, I realized that I was almost done my first term as a second-year UBC student, which isn’t a particularly important milestone, but it still came as a kind of shock. As I thought about the past few months, I realized that I really haven’t done much this year. Normally, I’m enrolled in 5 or 6 academic courses, and 3 performance based courses. My life is usually a whirlwind of theory homework and tuba lessons and frantically writing compositions and sitting at my desk until 3am writing last minute papers that are fuelled by coffee and the blinding desire to do well at everything in my life.
And here I am after 3 months of doing absolutely nothing, feeling like I’ve done absolutely nothing, and feeling pretty damn crappy about it.
I tried making a list of all my accomplishments for the past 3 months. It goes something like this.
1. I wrote a single composition (one hastily written orchestral piece which was finished approx. 6 hours before it was due and ended up being embarrassingly bad), and I finished one piano piece (90% of it was written at home in the summer and I just tacked something on to the end of it)
2. I wrote three super cool pieces (in my opinion, at least) for my electroacoustic music class. I also was required to write them, so I don’t really feel like they were huge accomplishments.
3. I joined a sports team, then I promptly started missing a majority of the practices that occurred in late October/November because I have issues with commitment.
4. I did a re-audition for the UBC band program and I ended up in the exact same spot that I started in. Which isn’t a bad spot or anything, but I definitely didn’t accomplish much by staying there.
5. I shrunk my stomach because I don’t eat much. Only an accomplishment because I LOVE to eat and I didn’t think it was possible to shrink my stomach. Definitely one for the scrapbooks.
6. I made approx. two new friends who weren’t on the quidditch team. Both of whom are super completely awesome, but seriously. Two friends. I’m practically a hermit.
7. I bought a cool ugly Christmas sweater.
8. I got some pretty mediocre Christmas gifts for my family and friends.
9. I went to two frat parties at the beginning of the term, and one in October. Where I lasted about 5 minutes, left, got propositioned by a creepy drunk guy, ran home, and gave up on parties altogether.
10. I almost wrote a history paper. And by almost, I mean I haven’t started it yet. I have a topic though!
11. I watched the whole series of Boy Meets World in two months.
12. I managed to keep up with 10 TV shows at once without missing any episodes.
13. I thought of a name for a 3-movement orchestral piece. I also thought of names for the movements.
14. I made a palace on Minecraft.
15. I kept a straight A average in all of my 3 academic classes. Which is cute, because I literally did nothing.
16. I wrote 3 blog posts.
As you can see, this is a very extensive list which covers the last three months of my life perfectly.
Maybe I’m just having trouble with this feeling of accomplishing nothing because I don’t know how to relax and not be killing myself over school every minute of every day, but I feel like I’m here at UBC to make something of myself. And if I’m not accomplishing great things, what am I really doing? Am I even trying? I’ve come to the conclusion that I am. And that your greatness isn’t determined by how much you’re accomplishing at one time, but by how much you’re living. Because your school marks don’t define you as a person. Because it isn’t wrong to want to take time to relax and give everything you’re doing 100% instead of trying to do too much and half-assing everything.
Well, friends, these are just some late night thoughts. And I’m pretty positive that I’m just writing this post to avoid writing my history paper, which is cool I guess. However, the most important thing to focus on right now is your own well-being. Killing yourself over school isn’t healthy. It’s finals season, and everyone needs to study, but there’s no point in studying and stressing to the point that you make yourself sick or give yourself a panic attack. Trust me. I’ve been there, and it sucks.
So relax a bit. Watch an episode of How I Met Your Mother. Make yourself a cup of your favourite tea. Buy yourself an ugly Christmas sweater and wear it with pride. Take a walk. Watch the sunset. Light a pinecone scented candle because you don’t have the money for a real tree. Eat a big bowl of ice cream. Drink lots of water. Hug someone. Cry if you need to. Blast your favourite song. Dance in your underwear. Have a bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese. Sleep 8 hours a night. Put twinkly lights up in your room. Tell someone you love them. Dress up fancy for no reason at all. Do something that makes you unequivocally happy. Read a book.
Remember, during this finals season, to live. And to love. And to take care of yourself. Because even doing that is accomplishment enough.
(thanks to Jude Law for being so wonderfully attractive in “The Holiday.” If you haven’t seen it, go watch it. Right now)