Vacation Time: Powering Down the Machine

Sometimes in college you have to be a machine. And I don’t mean that in a negative Terminator kind of way. In fact, an almost robotic persistence is a positive, maybe necessary thing in the university climate. When assignments, activities, and responsibilities pile up, you have to be able to focus in and accomplish your tasks without letting other things get in the way.

Everyone I’ve met at Drake has their own form of machine mode. Some hide out in the library for hours on end, others make to-do lists, more lists, then lists of their lists. One of my roommates listens to classical music to zone in while writing papers. Whatever the strategy, we all have the same goal: get things done. And in the midst of this noble pursuit of higher education, us academic machines can get a little intense. During finals week, you know just to leave others be, cause once you’re in the zone, you shouldn’t be bothered.

The problem comes when it’s time to disconnect, to relax. Right now, in the midst of winter break, I’m realizing that sometimes as easy as it is to slip into machine mode, it’s a whole lot harder to get out of it.  While I should be relaxing and enjoying family time, I still find myself organizing tasks, planning days ahead and scheduling hours of the day. Shopping for holiday presents became a mission and sending out cards with my family was a group project in which my co-workers were not quite as dedicated. And just like that, family fun became an assignment instead of a privilege.

So I’ve dedicated the rest of winter break to powering down. With no homework or papers or tests, I need to lean to enjoy some free time, outside of machine mode. I’ll sleep, refrain from making lists, and stop obsessively checking email. Then, in a couple weeks, when I’m back on campus, it’ll again be time to get things done. Now’s the time to relax, but I’ll be back. (Sorry, had to say it).

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