To the girl who needs to slow down

Officially in full swing of the semester, hello March, hello world, and hello zoom classes. I think it is safe to say we have been in pandemic mode for about a full year now, and if that isn’t crazy to think about I don’t know what is. At the beginning of the pandemic everything felt really slow, no one knew exactly what we were supposed to do except learn how to make our own bread and froth milk for lattes. But, now as we have become more accustomed to online life and everything a pandemic encompasses, life seems to have picked up speed.

Maybe you feel like you are still floating along this slow tide that the pandemic began with or maybe you feel even busier than before. Personally, I can say that I definitely feel the latter. While it seems like I have nothing to do as I bury my blue-light glasses into my computer for hours on end, the workload has piled up. I have this theory that now that we are three semesters into online school, professors really have a grasp on the concept and coursework is back in full force (except I’m teaching myself more than they are). So, while my eyes are constantly on a screen reading case studies, in breakout rooms on zoom, or taking quizzes on canvas, I feel like there is never a stopping point. Everyday seems to be the same, just a never-ending cycle of work that is piled up that never seems to get any smaller.

Day after day (even on the weekends) there is always some assignment that is due at midnight, and no matter how hard I try, there isn’t enough time in the day to get ahead. And what happens when I get stressed? I turn to social media and Netflix instead of taking a walk or opening my Bible. 

College kids nowadays live solely off technology, and I can say that because I am one. If you were to tell me all of my classes, assignments, and social communication would be online, I would tell you that is already the case. Because we are so consumed with the technology around us, spending at least 14 hours a day on it, we have no time to slow down. Or at least it seems like we don’t.

This past week I have really been focusing on trying to be more intentional with my time. One morning I went for a prayer walk in the snow before my classes began for the day. Sometimes, it is things as small as going downstairs and watching Vampire Diaries with my roommate. Or just taking 10 minutes to make lunch and be away from my technology to give myself a break. But just because I do these things does not mean I have perfected what I am spending each minute of my day doing. I have a book sitting on my bedside table that I am dying to finish. But by the time I am ready to get in bed and read it before I go to sleep, it is already 11:45 pm and my brain is already on overload from the pile of work I’ve been trying to finish all day. So, spoiler alert, I haven’t finished the book yet.

Today, I met with a friend for coffee and she asked me how she could pray for me. I contemplated what I was going to say because on the surface life is so good! I have amazing roommates, school is going pretty well, I am starting to think about life post-grad (little spooky), and I really just am content overall. But I told her that I just need prayers to be more intentional with my time, to not always be in a rush, to make free time for things that are important like quiet time, going outside, driving around with friends blasting music, and all the little things that make the days count. 

I feel like there is a stigma around slowing down and giving yourself time to relax. The culture we live in now is one that is so fast-paced if you take a break or have a day to yourself, you are being lazy and missing out on opportunities to get ahead. But is life supposed to be about accomplishing the next thing? Graduate high school, go to college, graduate college, get a job, get married, have kids, try out a new career, but then what? If we are always so focused on the next “checkpoint of life” when are we going to learn how to enjoy where we are now.

So, to the girl who needs to slow down, it’s okay if life is moving fast but make sure you are prepared to go with it. If you need to slow down but don’t know how, cut things out of your daily routine that aren’t necessary (hint: it’s probably social media). If you need a break take it, no one is forcing you to run full speed all the time. Take a breath, say a prayer, text a friend, and know that we are not supposed to do life alone. When you feel overwhelmed, tell someone. Take the time you would be spending on Tiktok and facetime a friend and check in on them, because I can promise you, if you feel like the world is moving too fast and you can’t catch up, other people are too. Slow down, pet your dog, drink some water, and ask God for guidance because He will always show you exactly where you are meant to be.