Permission to Slow Down

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Getting Permission to Be Slow

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So much of university is about keeping up with tasks. These past few years I have been working on how to organize my workload in order to complete work on time.

It’s a mind-set to perform at a certain level. I’m constantly pushing myself to stay on task. And then sometimes, crash.

Getting sick can sometimes be a blessing.

When we’re canceling work, postponing due dates, and just taking it easy at home, we can slow down in ways that we often don’t feel we have permission to when we are well.

Of course, with the state of the world, we all experienced self-isolation for a while. There was this invitation to slow down, in spite of all the alarm.

Appreciating the View

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So much depends on our point of perception. When I’m constantly feeling stressed and pressured to make deadlines, keeping up that pace can wear away at my mental and physical health.

Slowing down allows me to retreat into myself for the gathering of my senses and a renewal of what is important to me. Rushing through an assignment feels very different from really contemplating the topic and seeing what is meaningful to me.

Yes, some assignments suck. They are tedious and feel like a test of my ability to regurgitate the information that I’ve read. However, in most of my assignments there is a sparkle representing an opportunity to engage in the material in a way that is personally meaningful to me.

When I can fully steep in what I am studying because there is this personal connection, and I have the time and space to allow new insight and direction to flow, I enjoy the process of getting an education much more.

A Meaningful Process

It can be natural to fall into thinking that studying is a worthless process, set up to test us on what we have been learning, especially as pressure mounts, and as students we push ahead to complete what feels impossible to in the face of multiple deadlines and high academic expectations.

Rarely do we get to slow down and appreciate how this process of becoming educated has lifelong enriching qualities that can shape so much about who we are and what we expect out of life.

So take time, slow down, enjoy the process. We only get to do this once!

Education is Not a Means to an End

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Okay, some people just need a degree. I get that.

Whether the undergraduate is just a step towards a masters which will lead to some career, or a college diploma is a way to get a job in the field, many of us use our education to advance ourselves in life. I am too. But if we follow the line of thinking that education is just a means to an end, then we end up with some career, and the value of education is in its utility.

If career is a means to an end, what is that end? I haven’t figured that one out yet. It’s sort of a “so what.” Is it even achievable? How many successful people knew where they would end up after a long career, doing something that they never imagined doing?

What’s important to me is what I’m learning, and I know if I’m not careful, I might miss something.

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

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