Friday, May 6, 2011

A Girl's Gotta Know Her Limits

A long long time ago, in a land far far away (read: a little over a decade back, in the 'burb where I gew up), there was an over-achiever who spread herself so thin she got sick all the darn time from stress and lack of sleep. 

This girl tried to do everything. She was high school valedictorian (despite a serious hating of AP calculus). She worked out 3 or 4 days a week - when she wasn't playing volleyball 5 days a week. She wrote for the newspaper and was in the Latin and Italian clubs, as well as a host of others. She had a part-time job. She hung out with her buddies and did a lot of talking on the telly. Plus, she was Queen of First Dates (she wasn't really into second, third, etc. dates). 

Then our fairy princess went to college, got a boyfriend (guess what his name is . . . ), and learned about a certain thing called limits . . . . 

I can't say exactly when or how it happened, but somewhere along the way I stopped trying to be superwoman. I slowed down a little bit - not enough to smell the roses, but enough to see the roses in passing. It was a good choice. A crucial choice, actually. 

This comes to mind today b/c my plans for the next eight weeks just changed drastically - and, I believe, for the better - in the time it took to read 2 pages of a course syllabus. My German class starts on Monday and, since the creative writing class I agreed to teach got cancelled last week due to insufficient enrollment (major bummer), I signed up for a lit. class that would get my last area requirement out of the way. 

And while I wasn't looking forward to having a 3.5-hour class twice a week at the same time I'd be spending 3 hours M-F in my language class, I could NOT have predicted how awful the requirements for this literature class would be. The amount of stuff this teacher wants students to do is ridiculous for a 16-week course. But for a 6-week course? It's scandalous. 

Taking this course would, in theory, make my life easier eventually (maybe next spring - ? It's hard to predict these things). But it would make my summer hell. Which would trickle (or gush) into the fall and on and on. I know myself well enough to know that I don't need to "suck it up" when it comes to something this big and stressful; I need to make the smart choice for my peace of mind. 

In addition to this German thing hanging over my head, (do you see it dangling there, just out of reach?), Brad and I have a lot of relaxing and work on the house to get in over the next 3.5 months, and I plan on chilling out with my mom and my friends a lot. Basically, I want to have a summer. Not a condensed semester of torture. It's time to decompress and focus on other things. It's a well-earned break. 

Besides, I've already got plenty of "work" to do during these warmer months - writing my novel-in-progress and hopefully some short fiction, revising a paper from last fall, reading for classes this coming fall. That's enough, I'd say. 

Oh, and there's the fact that any prof who suggests a final essay for a course - 6 weeks or 16 weeks, I don't care - might be 9000 words is not a prof I plan on taking any time soon.

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