Remembering to Slow Down
For those of you that know me, you know I have a tendency to take on a lot of things. 18 credits, two honors reading groups, two campus jobs, four extra-curriculars, and a fellowship application or two, that's totally normal, right? (For a number of you reading this I expect it is, so I feel like you'll be particularly be able to relate to this post) Well being typical me, the insanity of what I take on doesn't stop when its summer (of course not, that would make life too easy).
My to do list for this summer includes:
- Interning 45 hours a week
- 2000+ pages of summer reading for Great Books (seriously why does my copy of Brothers Karamzov have to be 919 pages long? Even by Russian standards of punishment that seems harsh)
- Conducting field research and interviews for my honors thesis
- Managing the insanity that is ETL planning (and keeping track of what the 10 other wonderful members of the team are doing in their individual roles)
- Putting together my Fulbright application (all essays are written, yay! But need some serious edits. Thank God for Phil and that he already put up with me through the Truman process)
- Creating the framework and getting approval for my Robson Scholar Project (shout out to Katie Spoden on this one, although I don't think you read my blog, our project is going to be spectacular)
Simply keeping on track with all of this (okay, so I'm not on track with Great Books but everything else is progressing decently) is enough to keep me more than a little busy with my days. And to keep me up at night sorting through about a million thoughts occasionally. Add to this that I'm living in Bosnia, an amazing country with so much to offer and so much to do, and life gets even crazier. Which leads to what has probably been my biggest struggle during my time in Bosnia, trying to find a balance.
I'll admit I'm not the best at this. Again, for those of you that know me this should come as no surprise. I have a tendency to go into what some have affectionately dubbed ˝lockdown mode˝ and only come up for air when I absolutely have to. I laser focus in and for the most part ignore what is going on around me (seriously there are times when I would probs forget to eat if not reminded) because all of my thoughts are consumed on the present task at hand. And in a lot of cases I get pretty good results from it. But in Bosnia that's a very dangerous thing to do.
I'm only here for 10 weeks (well 11 if you count the time I'm spending in Istanbul – SO PUMPED) and it is far too easy to let that time slip away while I spend my time working, sending e-mails, drafting essays and memos, and attempting to read (made it through Don Quixote at least and a quarter of the way through Brothers, so see I have actually done some reading). And while all of those things are important and necessary to get done, I'm constantly reminding myself that they’re not the most important. The most important is to take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity. To spend my nights wandering through Old Town rather than in the apartment reading. To spend my weekends traveling rather than getting interviews collected. To be able to step away from the laptop and put down the smart phone and just enjoy coffee (or wine, they have excellent wine here) with new friends. So thank God for my roommates for keeping me from being a hermit, dragging me out of the apartment when necessary, and reminding me how lucky we are to be here.
As time is winding down here (the last of the other interns fly home two weeks from yesterday, sad face) I know everything will get done one way or another. My Fulbright App will get done, our Robson project already has the support of the McCarthy Center, and ETL is composed of an amazing group of people that I could not have more faith in to accomplish what is needed. I have an extra week to get my interviews collected and have no doubt that given the number of contacts I have available that they will be great so I don't need to panic about that just yet. And as for my Great Books reading, well that's what bus, train and plane rides are for. And if all else fails, I'll skim the last half and check sparknotes (but sshh, don't tell Scott).
Regardless, looking back on this trip 10 years from now, what I'm going to remember are the random adventures I had and the nights that we stayed out until 3:00 am just talking. The times, that as Hannah put it, I ˝took a second to get off the hamster wheel.˝
Now I just need to remember that mindset whenever I have the compulsive urge to check my e-mail or edit another essay (hey, some habits take awhile to break).