I’ll admit it. I was tired of the daily grind of classes and work. I had so many plans for what to do with my free time since I wasn’t taking classes during summer I. I wanted to do research on my favorite subjects, such as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his obsession with the 12th Imam, or perhaps the shady associations between Iran and Russia. I wanted to dedicate a portion of everyday to keeping my Arabic skills fresh for the fall semester.
I wanted to do so much during that month and a half that I didn’t have time to pursue during the regular semesters.
But I didn’t. Instead I sat around and discovered the joys of Netflix and of my new favorite karaoke bar in town. I even went to the Pride parade in Houston to celebrate the New York marriage vote and cheer on the people marching. That was, pretty much, all I accomplished in the last six weeks.
It was a great month that gave me many great memories with friends. It came at a cost though. I ignored all of my academic passions. I didn’t open any of the 12 library books that are currently sitting on my coffee table. When I tried to construct a few sentences in Arabic I found I had lost much of my vocabulary. It got to the point that I didn’t even want to read the latest developments in Syria, Libya, or Gaza, where previously that was all I ever wanted to spend my time doing.
I was tired. I was burnout. These are all good excuses for slacking off, right?
You might ask what’s wrong with taking a little mental break. Everyone needs a break every now and then.
Here’s what happened though, I let taking a little break turn into a major problem.
So today, at the start of summer II, I find myself hostile towards the learning process. I have been lashing out at every miniscule thing that doesn’t suit my fancy. I spent hours ranting at the cost of textbooks to people who already know just how burdensome they are and what a scam the pricing is.
Worst of all, I’ve spent the last hour in a blind panic with tears running down my face (a first in my academic career) having no idea what I was going to write about today or how I was going to do that and finish all the reading for class in the morning. I had a zillion small ideas, but nothing that took more than 100 words. It was a horrible feeling. It’s probably resulting in a horrible column.
Why have I told you all of this?
So that you don’t make the same mistake I have.
Taking a break every once in a while is good for everyone. That’s why we have vacations from jobs. That’s why school isn’t truly year-round. However, we can’t allow ourselves to get complacent about our education. Because of my choices I know that I have to work twice as hard to get my brain back into shape. But that’s ok, because now I’ve learned my lesson and I’m going to come back tomorrow stronger and more prepared. This little sidetrack has also reminded me how much I should, and do, cherish the opportunity to receive an education, and that it’s not to be wasted like this ever again.