When it comes to academics, I think I’m just a tad of a workaholic. I have known students who feel utterly bored and useless if they’re taking fewer than twenty credit hours; I also know (far too many) students who, perhaps out of sheer laziness or a lack of maturity, who take the bare minimum number of credit hours and still manage to have D averages come finals week. Last semester, a girl in one of my classes lost her financial aid because she decided to drop from twelve to six credit hours well past the drop deadline.
I fall not quite in the middle of these two categories. I’m definitely more on the side of the students who live and breath academia, although I don’t think I could ever handle more than eighteen credit hours in a semester. But I’ve been blessed with a good work ethic, and I do have a tendency to push myself too far. In the honors program at my former school, it was not uncommon for me to stay up past 2:00 AM to finish an eight-page batch of hand-written notes on the reading. I am only just learning that my academic work is not the be-all-end-all of my life, even though it can feel that way in the middle of the semester, with papers and project deadlines constantly looming. I am beginning to learn to back off a bit.
This past week has been spring break, and I ended classes last Friday excited and looking forward to some planned time off. Last year, I had to spend a good amount of my break writing a short story for a creative writing class (a nasty bit of assignment planning that I have still not forgiven my instructor for). The year before, I think I was reading Augustine’s City of God. Not exactly leisurely vacation reading.
This year, my husband I planned a mini-vacation up to Santa Fe, NM. He works at a hotel here in town that has a sister hotel in Santa Fe, and we get to stay for free. We drove up Sunday after church, and had a lovely couple of days off. We ate frozen yogurt. We walked around the downtown plaza. We watched TV in the room. We went out to a movie (a real, non-dollar movie!). We napped.
Our time was fun, relaxing and far too short. I did not want to come home on Tuesday. I dreaded having to return to my schoolwork. Surprisingly, though, I haven’t actually done that much schoolwork this spring break. I’ve done some reading and a little work on one of my projects, but after getting the work done that’s due immediately when I get back, I haven’t had much enthusiasm to push myself to do more. It’s probably a combination of family gatherings (my parents and little sister are in town, and yesterday was my sister-in-law’s baby shower) and, honestly, laziness. While there’s that semi-workaholic part of me nagging about not getting ahead, I don’t really mind where I am now, the last day of spring break. I figure I’ll be thrown back into late nights and early mornings and seemingly endless homework after tomorrow, so I might as well take some time to slow down.
The balance between work and relaxation is still a struggle for me. Judging by all of the tips, tricks, blogs and articles out there on “How to not take your work home”, or how Americans seem to be workaholics by nature, it’s a struggle that will probably continue. And while it will be hard to go back to the daily grind tomorrow, this past week has been enjoyable, and seems to be another milestone in my journey to achieving rest among the busy-ness of life.