And I thought I had learned my lesson…


Here's my Outlook schedule for last Friday.


Looking ahead to the variegated fullness of this day, I was not excited. I have grappled repeatedly with the simple excess of opportunities which is especially intense at Olin. In three years of frenzied activity, classes music sports projects theater conferences everything, I've trained myself to maintain a lot of activity at once. But after taking a complete step out from this Olin pace of life to live in France last spring, my feelings have evolved. I would say now that while I can tolerate the simultaneous pursuit of so many things, I just don't want the over-fullness as much any more. Specifically, I don't want it as much as I want a sliver of space, a margin of clearance around my undertakings. It isn't that I don't value all those many colored blocks that ran so smoothly one to the next last Friday: its that I've grown to appreciate the slack around the edges that leaves time for reflection, for relaxation, for revision, and for randomness.

Friday's schedule when exactly according to plan. The only block that got dropped was the very first one. It turned out not to be an overwhelming day: I really enjoyed Systems class and the user interviews for my product design course, soccer practice was relaxed and fun, and then playing a rock show at an on-campus dorm party (which I believe is an Olin first?) was a blast as well. Fulfilling. Overfilling. When I finally found my bedroll at 3 am, I had little left to give. But in the giving I did realize that I'd gotten a lot back.

These are the mixed messages I have to deal with: There's so many great things to be involved in, and taking off a huge chunk of them is in fact really rewarding. But it comes at a cost which I am appreciating more in my senior year.

I'm hoping my old friend Lindsay was right when she replied to some long rattling list of my current to-do's. "Well, the good news is, by the time you finish college you'll be set: There won't be anything left that you haven't done."


When you find that balance of being overwhelmed and being bored you will have figured out the great problem of time: what to do with it.

I know exactly what you mean, Unfortunately, even going 24/7 for four years wouldn't get everything I want to do done... it might get me half of one percent of the way through my reading list, and maybe a little further through my shows-to-see and shows-to-be-in-lists. And that's assuming those 24 hours were purely devoted t sows... it doesn't even get into all the discussions I want to have, obscure theories I want to learn, and robots I want to build. My to-do list in life is already far too long!

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Recent Comments

  • Ilana: I know exactly what you mean, Unfortunately, even going 24/7 read more
  • David: When you find that balance of being overwhelmed and being read more