“So, after I get done with my first job at 7 a.m., I have a study group and then four classes and then my second job starts so I probably won’t have time to eat and then tonight I have two meetings with different organizations and then a major paper to write plus two exams to cram for.”
I had only asked, “How are you?”
Somehow, it has become the norm to list off your to-dos instead of your true feelings, and to crush yourself under the weight of your own obligations to stay constantly moving. And after four years of college, I have grown tired of people name-dropping their busyness.
People have begun taking every free moment in a conversation to insert how they are taking 21 credits and working 4 jobs while being the president of an organization and co-chair on a committee in another organization. These mundane facts come across like a contest, yet, no matter how much someone boasts about his or her upcoming schedule, it does not change the reality that the majority of college students are just as busy.
Everyone has a thousand things going on at once and is attempting to balance school and having a life while somehow making money and trying not to dwell on the fact that student loans are looming. So, when a friend asks how you are doing, they are not asking what you have to do this week or to find out how much busier you seem than they do. What they do care about is how you are handling your stress and how you feel about your day, your week or your life.
Our culture continues to glorify “busy” as another way to be better than someone else. If you cannot be prettier, be busier. But when we focus on filling our lives, we miss out on being present and wind up drained.
Check your priorities. If all of those tasks and jobs and organizations are fulfilling to you, then you should have no reason to complain about how busy you are. If they are not and you simply use them as social currency, maybe you should rethink your life as it is now and begin focusing on the things that really matter.