It’s easy to fall into the trap of asking yourself if you’re doing it right at university. I find myself constantly asking myself how other people appear to do so much. How everyone found the time to read the book this week plus the secondary research, and you see on Facebook they’ve been to the pub too? I can’t seem to find the time to do my shopping these days. Personally, I’m convinced some of these people are taking a leaf out of Hermione Granger’s book and have managed to obtain a time turner, and I want to know where the hell I can get one too.
I think if we’re all honest everyone has this paranoia sometimes. We’re told to work hard and play hard, but what about all the other bits? You can’t live without sleep, we’re all supposed to be little gym bunnies hopping away on treadmills attempting to get into shape, and somehow we have to find the extra time to do all the boring bits of life, like cooking and laundry and washing your hair. We all try to find the balance, but the frank truth is, you can’t hold twenty oranges in two hands. Something that’s essential to remember is that people only show you what they want to present to the world. Someone’s Instagram doesn’t truly represent their life, its simply an imitation of it, seen through rose tinted glasses. They won’t show you the arguments, they won’t show you puffy eyes in the morning, or their pile of washing. We’re taught that our humanity, our inability to be on top of every item on our to do list, isn’t something to be shared. So we don’t share it. It’s important not to forget that when it looks like someone’s holding all 20 oranges in their hands, there’s probably several fallen to the floor that you can’t see in the picture.
Sometimes you have to realise it’s okay to take it slow. That’s what we need sometimes, just to close our eyes and breathe and forget about the rest of the world for a couple of minutes. Let everything fall away. Realise that the world will not implode if you don’t manage to read every last word of Marco Polo’s rather dull account of his travels. Realise that it’s okay if you stay up an extra hour tonight, because you’re laughing with your friends, you might have to have an extra cup of coffee in the morning, but it’ll be worth it cause you’re making memories. Realise that you can just put your hair in plaits tomorrow if standing in the shower for an extra ten minutes really isn’t worth the effort. Sometimes you have to be kind to yourself. The important thing to remember in these moments of paranoia is that, if you’re doing the thing that will make you happy in the long run, then it’s okay. Let’s rethink the work hard, play hard model, and reconsider that not one shoe fits all. Let’s just take a moment to breathe, and figure out what’s right for ourselves, as individuals.