The importance of staying in the moment

Balancing the stress of the future with where you are now

Balancing schoolwork with plans with friends.

February can be a really stressful time around Queen’s campus — we’re at our busiest in terms of school work and burdened with the pressure of figuring out where we’ll be in just three months time.

If you’re graduating this year, it means there are just under 90 days left at the place you’ve called home for the last four years. And even if you have a couple of years left here, knowing the end of the year is approaching can still make you feel on edge. 

In the flurries of due dates, extracurricular activities, meetings, job and graduate school applications, as well as endless internet searches for future opportunities, it can get seriously overwhelming. 

But regardless of all the responsibilities this month seems to bring, it’s equally important that we make conscious efforts to stay in the moment. 

Without a doubt, the future is extremely important. But it’s also important to know when to take a step back and make sure we’re soaking in all the time we have left at Queen’s.

Being in the final year of my undergraduate degree, I’ve definitely started to feel the panic of not having the time to get everything I can get out of Queen’s. For me, this means my experience has felt like it’s going away a little bit more each day. I decided at the beginning of the year that I wasn’t going to say “no” to any sort of plan, event or experience if I didn’t have a legitimate reason to pass it up. 

As a result, there have been times I’ve been exhausted, grumpy, had a sore throat and dreamt of my bed but pushed myself to engage in an activity anyway. I can safely say some of those days and nights when I decided to make the most of my situation became memories I’ll cherish forever. 

It can be harder said than done to simply decide to do all we can at this school when there are very real things lying ahead to think about and plan for. Even so, it’s important to remind yourself to take a breath, step back and realize how little time we’re granted here at Queen’s. 

When your days feel packed with a seemingly impossible number of things to do and if your first thought in the morning is wanting the day to be done, try taking a step back to look at the bigger picture. 

Doing well in school and participating in extracurriculars are extremely important steps we need to take to make the most of our time at university. It can be equally valuable to remember to appreciate the other opportunities we have as students.

We’re living in a very unique time in our lives. On one hand, we’re independent adults living alone or with friends and making our own decisions. On the other, we’re still provided with those safety nets that steer us in the right direction. It’s like adulthood with training wheels — and that’s what can make this time so fun.

Even though there’s more at stake than when we were in high school, there still needs to be an emphasis on doing things you can proudly (or embarrassedly) tell your children in 10 years about your time at university. 

Keeping up with school work and working towards the future is undoubtedly important but every once in a while, make sure you’re breaking out of the school blues to appreciate the friends, city life and campus culture that surrounds you. 


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