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A ‘To Don’t’ list

| Friday, August 22, 2014

Nearly everyone comes to college with a four-year bucket list in mind of all the incredible things they want to accomplish before graduation. As soon as classes start up, people attack the weeks with a coffee in one hand and a foot-long “To Do” list in the other. There’s one more kind of list that I think can be more important than either — the “Don’t Do” or “To Don’t” list.

Here are a few things you might want to consider adding to your “To Don’t” list — it’ll free up more time and energy for you to take care of all the things on your other lists:

1. Stop making two-year plans, four-year plans, 10-year plans or 20-year plans. Contrary to what you might feel like right now, you don’t need to have the rest of your life laid out by the first day of classes, by the end of freshman year or even by the end of senior year, for that matter. You’ll change and evolve over the next four years – relax and let your plans do the same.  

2. Don’t be passive with the next four years, and stop defaulting into your decisions. Be active in choosing what’s going to be important to you, and commit energetically to those things. College will push you academically, socially and spiritually, and I imagine that’s nothing new for many of you.  Don’t fall into a mindless routine, and don’t be afraid to make a 180-degree turn if something isn’t working for you. Whatever you do, do it passionately.

3. At the same time, don’t overcommit. At Notre Dame, you can do anything you want to — but no one can do everything. Choose what means the most to you, what will help you hit your goals, what makes you happiest. And then don’t waste energy on anything else.  

4. Don’t sleep in (all the time). This feels hypocritical of me to suggest since I’m known to set five alarms in the morning and ignore the first four, but I’m working on taking my own advice. There are only so many hours in a day, and as much as I love to sleep, an extra hour in bed never feels better than getting a good start on the day. Try it – one hour earlier, once a week. It doesn’t matter what you do with your extra time, just that you have it.

5. Don’t disengage from the news, both international and domestic. I almost feel an obligation to say that as a newspaper editor, but it’s so true. With a campus as gorgeous as ours, it might be easy to forget that there are things worth paying attention to beyond zip code 46556. Don’t forget. There are newspapers in the dining halls, links on your Twitter feed and headlines scrolling across the bottom of your TV screen. Make a point of knowing what’s going on. 

Enjoy your freshman year. I’m sure I don’t need to warn you that it goes by faster than you think it will. 

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

About Ann Marie Jakubowski

Senior News Writer, formerly Editor-in-Chief. English and Spanish double major, minor in journalism, ethics and democracy. Grand Rapids, Mich., native. Notre Dame Class of 2015.

Contact Ann Marie