A Lesson on Accepting Spontaneity
Published: Monday, September 9, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 9, 2013 17:09
I take myself way too seriously. Though I’m a freshman, and I’m positive that nearly every upperclassman reading this is thinking, “Of course you take yourself way too seriously. All of you freshmen are either vastly arrogant or scared out of your mind.” Which, I suppose, is largely true.
But to clarify, I mean I take myself too seriously as a student. I have long been a hyper-organizer, a study until 3am-er. One of those raises-her-hand-every-two-minutes, asks-too-many-questions-in-class sort of student. Because of this, I often found myself missing out on social gatherings and school-sponsored events throughout high school in the name of “One More Hour of School Work.” Yet, no matter how much my parents told me I needed to get out more, or my friends groaned because I was choosing to skip out on yet another basketball game, this normally worked for me. I was, and continue to be, pretty content sitting at home alone reading a textbook.
That overly ambitious attitude reaches into every part of what I call “me.” I’ve spreadsheet-ed nearly every aspect of my life; I use sticky notes obsessively and never miss an opportunity to create a new to-do list. I spend hours thinking about my future goals—my projected “five-year plan.” So go ahead and ask me about my majors, my goals and my hopeful business ventures. I’ll give you an earful, and you will probably leave wishing you hadn’t. I’m one of those people.
Or at least I was two months ago. If you’d asked me in the beginning of August what I was most looking forward to at NDSU, I would have launched into one of my ear-splitting raves about my 18 credits and how excited I was to join 23.5 different clubs. With zeal, I would have talked about how I will never again find myself in a place that brings together such a diversity of highly educated professionals and resources worthy of a top-100 research facility the way a college campus does. I would have told you about how I really wasn’t that excited about the football games, residence hall life or meeting new people, because... “Hello, BOOKS.”
Yet, in just the short period of time I’ve been here, I’ve begun to realize how absolutely ridiculous that is. Some of the best days I have spent on campus so far have been the days I did not plan, or those when I have chosen to ignore my calendar. I was ready to be challenged academically and even a bit socially, but what I wasn’t so ready for was opening myself up to spontaneity. The student who walked in far too serious to attend residence hall activities has found that some of the best learning opportunities have come not from my professors, but from the strangers at a Welcome Week Block Party or the new friends sitting down with me for lunch.
Not that I walk around now like, “BRING ON THE PARTY!” Don’t worry, Mom (who’s totally reading this), I’m still going to classes, I’m still doing my homework and no, I haven’t tried pot. That’s not exactly what I mean by spontaneity. Your wildly ambitious, in-far-over-her-head, little girl is still here and active. She’s just learning.
Erica is a freshman majoring in political science.