Taleb: This is what we’re like

But should we like it?

All summer, I have been stressing about the classes, jobs and extracurricular activities I’ve committed myself to this year. I’ve asked myself millions of times, have I taken on too much?

And then, just the other day, I encountered my first Case Western Reserve University student of the year since coming back to Cleveland for school. Of course, we talked about our commitments for the semester. It went like this:

        Me: “I’m so stressed about my schedule this year.”

        Student: “Me too. I’m taking 21 credits, and I work in a research lab and work part-time at Chipotle and I’m on three different exec boards. And I volunteer at the children’s hospital on weekends.”

        Me: “Well, that’s hella stressful.”

But it’s not just stressful. It’s our CWRU culture. I can’t be the only one who’s noticed that our student body consists of workaholics. If we’re not in class, we’re doing research or working or attending meetings for three different exec boards. It’s admirable how hard we work to attain success, but is the extreme pressure and stress that we put on our minds and bodies worth it?

I’m a Resident Assistant this year. And the theme for my staff is mindfulness. I’d like to take this moment and say—you and me—let’s plan on being more mindful this year. And there are a lot of things we could be mindful of, but I’m encouraging us to be mindful of our self-care.

Even on the busiest of days, we must stop and ask ourselves, how are you feeling? Stressed? Overwhelmed? What would make you feel better today?

On the most stressful of nights, we should think, can I take a 10 minute break? Take a quick walk?

When we look at our schedules, do we think, this is manageable for me? Or, I can barely breathe just looking at this?

Success isn’t a destination; it’s a process. And we have to ask ourselves how we want to look and feel throughout this process. Awake and able? Or miserable and burnt out?

Nardine is hoping to be a speech therapist one day but her true goal is to not sleep through life.