i'm graduating from college in 100 days

Last night it hit me. It’s “hit” me a lot over the past couple of weeks with little things here and there, but last night was my first “Oh my gosh, this is going by way too fast, it has to stop, I don’t know what I am doing” freakout. A culmination of exhaustion, Spanish homework that I just wasn’t understanding, a meeting that was hard to get through, missing my mom, realizing how fast the semester is going to fly by, trying to overcome this cold and avoid getting the flu, just to name a few things running through my mind, pushed me over the edge.

It’s hard. Senior year is hard in ways that no one warns you about. Some classes are difficult and time consuming (hello Capstone) but it’s just a crazy time trying to balance school work, extracurricular activities, job hunting and interviews, making sure I respond to all of the emails that I get, carving out intentional time to be with my friends, and remembering to eat.

In this late night insomnia that has overcome me this week, I started reading a book called “Present Over Perfect.” I have never been a big reader, so my first thought was “Hey, if you pick up a book maybe you’ll fall asleep,” but in reality, I knew that these late night hours were the perfect time to try and renew my heart. To pause and reflect.

I have always struggled with living a life of “perfection,” always having (or appearing to have) everything put together and seamless. Details are my favorite and the only thing I love more than crossing things off of my to-do list, is making the list. I’m all for cutting out the fluff and getting to the point, especially during meetings. I’m a do-it-myself kind of girl that can never say “no.”

This school year, I knew that I wanted to invest my time in organizations and people that I cared about and to cut out the things that had become “just another meeting” or “another thing on the list.” A sweet friend encouraged me to read this book last semester while I was struggling with what my year would look like. I cut back on my campus involvement hoping I would have a more joyful year and would make those memories that I knew I would look back on in a few years. But fall semester of senior year has come and gone and that’s not what happened.

I realized this when Shauna Niequist said to “stop living a life of efficiency.” That was the first time that I truly started to pay attention to what I was reading. Stop living a life of efficiency. I stopped reading right then and there because it shook me. When I stopped to think about it, I found myself not being invested in what I was doing. Attending meetings to get questions answered and then going on to the next thing. Saying “no” to Thursday night drinks with the girls because I wanted to try and get ahead on my school work (but let’s be honest, that never actually happens). Opting for apple slices for lunch AND dinner in the same day because I “didn’t have time to” cook or wash the dishes. Complaining instead of praying. But what was this actually doing for me? Nothing really, except for stressing me out even more because I wasn’t taking any down-time or me-time. I was constantly trying to check things off of the list before they could be added. I was working towards this craving for a “free weekend” where I could do whatever I wanted with whomever I wanted. But I actually spent my weekdays going-going-going, only to realize that my weekends still weren’t “free.”

Last night was it. I don’t know where I am going to be in five months, but I know that in five months my friends and I are parting ways. I know that in five months won’t be able to take a walk down the South Oval and hear the bells. I know that in five months I will be tackling the world as a real life grown-up. I know that in five months I will wish I had enjoyed this semester instead of worrying about everything else.

So here’s to the next four months of slowing down. Being intentional. Going to the Mont on a Wednesday night at 10pm because some Wednesday’s call for queso and a drink with the friends you love. Praying. Reaching out to people you haven’t seen in awhile. Sitting on the couch to do my homework because I have a whole career to sit at a desk. Saying thank you. Resting (!!!!!). Celebrating victories. Taking pictures so that I can fill my future house with these sweet memories. Being happy and not stressed. Going on weekend adventures. And maybe even skipping a class or two to conquer those last minute college bucket list dreams.

Let's do this.

 

Annie Bradshaw