As My Semester Comes To An End, I’ve Learned A Valuable Lesson For The Future

So busy lately… it’s been nonstop to the point that my body hates me. Fatigued, I had to take a nap just to have enough to stay up and finish this project. I’m in serious need of a vacation away from everything. Vegas is very necessary, and I look forward to it. Winter break won’t really help much, because I have a lot of stuff to do over it anyways. Some day, my schedule and my health with co-exist in harmony, and I’ll feel good about being busy.

When I was without anything to do in the week or two before classes began, I craved something to do. When classes began, I felt great about it, because I was taking part in fun projects that were sure to enhance my abilities. Today, I’ve realized now that there is a limit to what a person can do. I don’t like that limit, and I’ll need to try to stay further away from it.

When I take on too many things at once, I’m not able to do anything perfectly, sometimes not even up to my own standards. No matter how much I want to do something, the key thing I need to learn to do is say “no.” Maybe not “no” indefinitely, but at least “no for now.” I’ve treated myself so badly in the last month or so, in the name of quality work in so many areas. I’ve restricted my ability to focus on specifics to do the best I can, and instead, have fallen back to “okay” with everything. I don’t sleep enough, averaging near 4-5 hours per night, and in many instances less. I don’t eat properly, because I don’t have the patience to cook anything, nor the patience to really learn to cook anything healthy. I also don’t eat very often, because I’m always running low on money. My school obligations consume so much time that i have essentially worked on average of ten hours per week at my job, and haven’t paid hardly any attention to my website community.

The people I care most about, have been neglected. I haven’t been “in the loop” about anything or anyone in so long. I never know what’s going on. I don’t talk with my family enough, I don’t talk to Hang enough, and I don’t even talk to my friends enough. I’m alone with my work most of the time, and it’s enhanced my ability to maintain an anti-social life to get work accomplished. That isn’t really something I wanted enhanced.

You know that guy you see in the movies that’s “never around” and “always working” and is blamed and criticized for “putting work before family” on the television? This is where my life is headed. This is the pattern I’ve slipped into this semester. This is something I’m not happy about. I’m not myself. I’m not who I want to be. I’m not who anybody wants me to be.

I need to fix this. The semester is over now, but my work continues. I’m involved in more things outside of school than I am for school. The main component of my stress, as I’ve always known, is financial. It’s no secret that students have a shitty financial situation while in school. Sure, there are a few students that get scholarships and grants, or get opportunities to cover their finances in other ways, such as parents. They don’t have to job search, and they don’t have to worry about money.

That’s not me though. I’ve taken the hard road. I’ve learned, and will likely continue to learn, the hard way every time. The positives about this way of life is that it builds character and ethic. The negatives, of course, is that it’s the hard way. I don’t have time to work, because I’m busy working on stuff that directly relates to my future. That future stuff though, doesn’t pay the present bills. Instead, the stuff that is taking me absolutely nowhere in life has to be done to maintain my ability to build a future. I have to work at a car dealership to pay my rent, but even that isn’t enough. If all I did was work at the car dealership, I wouldn’t be living in Grand Rapids. I’d be moved back home, temporarily taking a break from college… again.

So I’ve invested time during the breaks from school to build something that I can take care of easier: HotTipsCentral. Without my work online, I don’t pay my rent, or my bills. Because of how little hours I get on my job in Grand Rapids, the website is making nearly equal to my part-time job. It’s like I’m working twice the hours that I am. It’s easing the struggle, but it’s not solving it. What I really need to do, is manage my time, and develop a better system of keeping track of my life, both inside and outside of school.

The trick, is to not take on so much. I was in over my head this semester, and a majority of what I was doing had nothing to do with school at all. It was work, outside of the classroom, for things that looked (and still looks) to be good for a career in the future; to build something to achieve a stable life in my future. I must realize that I’m not superman, and that I can’t do everything at the same time. That’s what I need to do. Relax a bit more, and take the time as necessary to do quality work. For the summer film, I didn’t edit enough. For my non-fiction project, I didn’t participate as much as I wanted (wasn’t completely my fault on that one though). On my final project for my After Effects animation, I had to “settle” for a second-rate job that I’m not even proud of, and I didn’t earn as high of a score in my communications class as I wanted to earn either.

I’m going to work on this. I cannot maintain my current way of life. I’ll never be happy if I do, and I cannot fulfill my role as a friend, son, and eventually, a husband and a father. There isn’t a way this pattern can continue. It’s time to let a few things go, put a few things aside, and take my time. A major project doesn’t have to have a 3 month deadline. Even feature films that have hundreds of people working for millions of dollars takes 10 months, and sometimes well over a year to get completed. If I’m not actually “hired” for something, and it’s a project that isn’t allowing me to continue to live in this area, it should get set aside for things that are. Everything should be rated on a scale of importance, and then done based on that.

Anybody have any advice for me? What do you do to help with a stressful schedule? Perhaps the more matured adults in the audience will have some knowledge to share with me. I’m all ears (or, eyes I suppose… because I’m reading).

Charlie Pryor

Charlie is a media producer, writer, and a traveler. He grew up in Michigan, all of his life and attended Grand Valley State University for a B.S. in Film and Video Production. He's married to a wonderful woman named Hang, and simply hopes to one day turn himself into a man that many will remember long after he's gone.

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1 comments
Aunt Donna
Aunt Donna

First of all, you life will not always be like this. Now is a very busy time trying to balance school into everything else. Pray for discernment in your decision making to find balance in your life.

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