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Getting our stuff together

| Friday, November 6, 2015

As a senior, I have noticed my classmates and I speak more and more of needing to get our stuff together (“stuff” is not the preferred vernacular, but the preferred vernacular is not quite fit for print). It’s true, graduation looms ahead of us, and soon enough, we will be flung unwillingly into the long-dreaded and much-mythologized “real world,” but for the time being, I’m fine with not having my stuff together.

I often hear my friends say they need to take a weekend, or an afternoon, or even a whole week of break to get their stuff together. I’m guilty of the same, and much as I tried to use my fall break a few weeks ago to catch up on senior thesis work, map out the rest of my semester and make some headway on the job hunt, I didn’t accomplish nearly as much as I had hoped for. In retrospect, that was predictable, and really, not having our stuff together is something college students really excel at — and that’s fine, too.

Right now, I am fine with the knowledge that I don’t have all my stuff together, but I know what all my stuff is. I have my job at The Observer. I have my thesis and other schoolwork. I have my job search. I have my friends, family and a little bit of free time to actually enjoy senior year. All my stuff is there, and I can easily identify it, but it’s nowhere near together. I don’t even know what that would look like, and I’m convinced the people who seemingly have all their stuff together are just better at faking it than the rest of us.

But knowing what all my stuff is works for me. I’m not sure if I’ve ever completely had my stuff together, and to be honest, I’m not sure I would like it all that much. Not having it all together means that my work is always incomplete; there’s always something more to be done. That’s how I live my life now, and that’s how I want to live when I leave here. I think we’re all just works in progress, and the prospect of progress is what gets us up in the morning.

Of course, I could be completely wrong and woefully unprepared for life after college. I certainly allow for that possibility, but unless I fail out of all my classes in the next semester and a half (a course of action I haven’t yet ruled out), I’m getting kicked out of this place in five months, whether I have my stuff together or not. But making it up as I go along, without my stuff together, has worked pretty well for me for 21 years, so I think I’ll keep it going even when I leave Notre Dame. I’d much rather live my life like I spent fall break — setting irrationally lofty goals that I never quite reach but taking breaks for naps and food and time with friends and family.

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

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About Jack Rooney

Jack is a 2016 graduate of Notre Dame, and The Observer's former managing editor. He is currently spending a year living and working for the University in Ireland, and writing columns to keep him busy. For more random thoughts and plenty of news links, follow Jack on Twitter @RooneyReports.

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