Ron Swanson gives Leslie Knope this advice when he sees that she’s stretching herself too far in Parks and Recreation. My classmates and I were given this advice in class this past week as we touched on the topic of our future artistic careers.
And yet, here I am, writing this blogpost at the last minute, having just returned from a technical rehearsal for a play opening on Saturday, and about to embark on a mandatory all nighter to finish the multiple midterm assignments I have due tomorrow. I knew it would come to this, I knew this is how this night would go, but I couldn’t avoid it. There are many things that I have to do: assignments for classes I have to take, learning lines, submitting paperwork for abroad, etc.. And then, because I go to school for something I’m passionate about, there are tasks I want to do, and want to do well and fully. But because all of these things need my attention at once, everything suffers. And that project that I was so incredibly excited about at the beginning of the semester, gets less energy than studying names of medieval magicians, because I have to work harder to focus on the latter, and I need the religion credit to graduate.
How am I supposed to take this Ron Swanson great advice when my schedule simply does not allow for it? How am I supposed to learn focus and commitment to a single task when the university structure is not set up that way? I don’t even have the ability to really ask these questions, right now because of how much other things I have to do before zombie walking into my first class tomorrow morning.
Molly Greville, another student on this blog who happens to be one of my best friends, wrote a blogpost about talking about the artistic value of boredom last week and I’ve been thinking about that. I don’t have time in my schedule for boredom, I don’t have time in my schedule to allow my mind to wander without a goal. As I struggle to meet deadlines and still be awake enough to participate and learn in the classes I really am so excited about, I wonder where the alternative is. I wonder what I’m missing, or what my peers have figured out. I also wonder what my CAS Religion teacher thinks the rest of my schedule looks like. But I’m too tired and burn out to find the answers. And I am a strong TYPE B personality. Questions make me excited, I hate having too strict a schedule, I love being able to jump to whatever I’m inspired by in the moment. So I’m wilting a little bit.
I am ready to take this great advice that has been bestowed upon me. I am ready to commit my time to one or two projects at a time and have a personal life outside of my work that can further inform my art. But that’s just not a reality right now. Right now I have to set timers so I don’t get too invested in one project and forget to work on the other. I have to skip out on artistically stimulating conversations with my peers to organize my schedule. I have to use my lunch break to sleep. Here’s hoping that all this stamina building will make the real world seem tame in comparison.