Back to the bend
Jonah Tran | Wednesday, February 15, 2023
8:00 finish workout
8:30 NDH breakfast
9:00 finish breakfast
11:30-12:20 Calc B
12:30-1:15 NDH lunch
Sleep by 12
I copied verbatim my schedule of the day Oct. 24, from the pink journal, a planner, that I carry around with me everywhere. Order. Structure. Control. Those words describe how I prefer my days. Truthfully, it is much less prefer but more so need. I need a schedule to direct my day, otherwise I fall apart. I fall victim to procrastination, forgetfulness and laziness. Creating a schedule is the only method that I have ever known to uphold a lasting structure for the day. Of course, I often amend the schedule in cases of a workout running too long or meals eaten swifter than anticipated. I acknowledge that my method of calculating the day minute by minute, even meals, is somewhat ridiculous, overkill perhaps, so I accept all criticism willingly. I realize that my system is imperfect, and in light of first semester culminating in finals, I recount how the imperfections are increasingly apparent.
Now that I think about it. Winter break in middle school was a complete and utter joke. I spent countless hours mastering multiplication tables with tacit understanding and labored on the P.E. grass field running for multiple touchdowns in a 20-minute pick-up football game. I certainly needed three weeks of nothingness to recover from the academic and physical strain. Now I concede it is essential to allow time to spend with family during Christmastime, but I seriously doubt middle schoolers need that extensive of a break from recess. I can apply the same principle to high school, substituting with algebra and maybe baseline calculus. However, college is a different story. There is legitimate academic and physical strain that I had never priorly experienced in my formative education.
In the final week of my first semester in college, I was soulless, as many are. I descended into insanity. The long hours of mindlessly reading texts summarily rotted my brain as I began adding newly created curse words to the English dictionary to encapsulate my present feelings. I engaged in dialogue with my imaginary microeconomics study-partner named Nash, with whom I also had countless laughs all in the silence of my room. My diet primarily consisted of animal crackers inhabiting large cylindrical tubs and dining hall cheesecake slices stuffed into to-go cups (you can comfortably fit four slices into a single cup). I never claimed to be an exemplar of healthy lifestyle.
In a vain effort to exhibit some control over my life, I drew up daily schedules to manage my time and efforts more efficiently. However, I found myself constantly amending, constantly crossing out time allotments and creating new ones. After a few attempts, I gave up and winged it for the remaining days. Fortunately, the damage to my soul and body did not negatively impact my grades. I did well!
Moving forward, I needed this winter break. I was exhausted like never before, craving rest, warm weather and quality food. I thought I needed weeks to restore my mind and body, but I felt normal after about three days. I visited friends from high school to catch up, but then what? I ate delicious tacos and barbecued meats, but then what? I slept in plenty and played video games, but then what next? Each day melted into the subsequent one until my memory could not decipher either. Creating a schedule completely slipped my mind since I abandoned it amid the chaos of finals weeks. I wandered day to day with no direction other than mindlessly repeating the same actions of the day before, invariably feeling frustrated for the lack of productivity. I lacked purpose and the structure that college life provides. I was conditioned, even addicted, to the hustle and bustle of work. Perhaps, this is indicative to the faults of capitalism or even the consequences of the industrial revolution, but I will save that discussion for another article.
Upon arrival back to campus, I attempted to rationalize my boredom during winter break with friends but to no avail. Everyone seemed reluctant to be back, savoring every moment of rest and activity during break. Perhaps, I am the only one who dislikes sleeping in or doing absolutely nothing. I was further disenfranchised upon seeing the numerous Instagram posts lamenting their longing of the dome or to be back at the bend since I could not accurately verify if we desired the same thing.
Thinking deeper about the subject, I question whether it was the nature of how I spent my time at home or the duration of winter break that caused my laziness. I do not know. But I know for certain an imperfection in my system of schedule-making. I found that my life falls apart when I try too hard to keep my life in order, as in the case of finals week, and my life also falls apart when I do not try at all. If I posed a scale of 1-100 about how much effort I ought to exert in making a controlled day, I would say 78.
I offer my story of finals and winter break as a guideline for you to learn from my own mistakes. Perhaps, you are like me in that you value a structured day and purpose. Perhaps, you prefer just seizing the day, full sending it. And in that case, I do not get you.
Jonah Tran is a first-year at Notre Dame double majoring in Finance and Economics and minoring in Classics. Although fully embracing the notorious title of a “Menbroza,” he prides himself on being an Educated Young Southern Gentleman. You can contact Jonah by email at [email protected]
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.