I can’t wait for this semester to be over

… is the number one thing I hear in the halls this week. “I can’t wait for this semester to be over!” I get it. We’re all tired. A college semester is a lot like a marathon: an unrelenting hustle of effort that doesn’t really let up until it’s over.

But.

You get one life. One December 6, 2017. You have one less day on this earth than you did yesterday.

So why are we looking forward to it being over? I think we all need an attitude adjustment.

Why are we excited for the end?

  1. Classes are stressful (everything is judged on our permanent records, we have no control over what is demanded of us, conveyor belt of crud)
  2. Classes are hard work (and you can only work hard for so long before you give out. Ask John Henry. Willpower is a finite resource in the micro AND the macro)
  3. Life after finals looks nice (family, friends, free time)

So how do we embrace the present instead of enduring it?

  1. Balance. Stop putting off the other things that matter to you in the interest of school. You are a whole person and your family, friends, health, spirituality, hobbies, finances need attention too. You’re really unhappy when you don’t make progress in these areas for extended periods. You need to grow these Life Accounts to be effective.
  2. Essentialism. Greg McKeown coined the term to point out that we clutter our lives with nonessential hard work. A fancy figure that will be on page 47 of a report. Animations in a presentation that would work without them. A five paragraph email when two sentences would have sufficed. Stop turning half hour jobs into four hours worth of work and then complaining that you’re too busy.
  3. Meaning. Remind yourself of WHY you’re working hard. Hard work isn’t a bad thing. We’re not setting ourselves up for a life of clock-punching. We’re pursuing our passions, careers filled with meaning and purpose. You might not have a clear picture, but if you replace the image of fear and despair behind the fog of uncertainty, it makes what you do today feel a lot more powerful.
  4. Drive. Find a reason that you’re excited to do the work. You’ll work hard in life. Work on things you love and keep in mind that every experience is training for a powerful moment that you just haven’t lived yet. Love the hustle. Most people who reach the finish line wish they could go back. Ask the Broke lottery winners and unhappy multimillionaire athletes whose lives fall apart. Love the process, live for the hunt.

Hang in there. But love today instead of wishing it were gone forever.

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