When I got to college I realized fairly quickly that I possessed an undesireable amount of laziness. Certainly, I’ve always been productive, with many interests, always having several projects brewing inside my proverbial cauldron. But after two days of classes I sat down on the floor of my room with new textbooks and made lists, a calendar of sorts, plotting the impossible task of “getting all of this stuff done.” Needless to say, I was completely overwhelmed. With eighteen credits standing tall in front of me, Christmas-break so small and squinty in the distance, I honestly did not know if I would make it.
I learned right away that a music major does not have a social life. And if she does, she is shirking her practicing responsibilities, for she can always practice for just one more hour, and if she really believes that her fingers cannot tinkle another ivory, she knows that she still has a pile of bookwork waiting in her room. All of my friends did their bookwork while I was practicing and at the end of the day I still had an entire night of chapters to read and papers to write.
Aside from the academic responsibilities, there were the little annoyances of required activities and an imposed bedtime, something that myself and the other owls in the school despised and complained about on a near daily basis. It seemed that whenever I was about to stake my flag into the mountain of work to do that some required event would pop up and I would be just barely behind again.
I learned two things from this: first, that no matter how much there is to do and no matter how little time one has to accomplish the tasks at hand, it all gets done. This is an invaluable skill to have! And while I worried my way through grad school, every assignment was completed, every project executed. My life has slowed down considerably and yet this remains true: there is no reason to be overwhelmed, there is always enough time, and there is always the ability to muster enough energy to get the job done.
Secondly, I greatly increased in productivity. My creative output was greater each year that I studied and worked. And while previously I was able to “get things done” and was always busy, the years that I spent in college and grad school taught me that working hard is more enjoyable than being lazy, that there is nothing more enjoyable than the stress of working to accomplish a daunting task, and that there is nothing more satisfying than a job well done. Certainly, without college I could appreciate these things on a certain level, but without being pushed and stretched, without holding the potential ball of wrath of a particular professor in my hands, I think that my drive to create and accomplish would be severely diminished. What a sorry loss! With a lifetime of productivity ahead of me outside of the academic world, six years of formal education is a small price to pay.