Sure, it’s another day full of sun with friends to see, people to meet and fountains to hop. But it’s also another day of p-sets, papers, thinking about summer internships (or worrying that you’re not thinking about them enough) and regretting those wasted hours of napping way back when you knew what a nine-hour night feels like.
Sometimes, the Stanford blues hit hard, and you need to reconsider your priorities or look at things in a different light. A piece of advice: go talk with an eight-year-old. Or better yet, go talk with a five-year-old while he’s busy making slime (which, tangentially, is a very stress relieving activity). Kids are the wise wizards I need in my life – they speak in enigmatic phrases and are surprisingly right about a lot of things (or maybe I’m just a particularly bad case, in which case feel free to read on to scratch your head some more at my weirdness). If your friend circle consists mainly of lovely yet duck-syndrome-affected folk, and/or you do not happen to know any elementary schoolers, you’re in luck! Below are some gems from my Resident Fellow’s children, which have helped make some rough days so much brighter.
- “I’m sick, but it’s okay, I can still play foosball!”: mindset is everything. Well, not everything but a lot. Just as it helps that the weather is always picturesque, it helps to have a sunny way of looking at things (sure, roll your eyes, but it makes a difference, I promise). That doesn’t mean pretending everything is A-okay all day, every day. It just means acknowledging if things aren’t going splendidly but also thinking of the good that can come from the experience and something to look forward to after it.
- *Starts yawning at 8:30 pm* *is up and running around by 7:30 am*: Okay, maybe 8:30 pm and 7:30 am is pushing it, but you get the picture. Sleep. You will have energy, happiness, and live long and prosper. Most times, studying all night won’t help you out for that midterm since you’ll be dozing off during it. If you refuse to “waste time” by sleeping more (which is never a waste in my opinion, sleeping rocks), then try going to bed and waking up at fairly regular hours – not starting the day by jolting awake to an obnoxiously loud alarm makes it so much better (also, breakfast foods are the best foods).
- “Should we bake banana bread or cookies?” “Let’s bake banana bread and cookies!”: when it comes to taking some time for yourself or doing something you enjoy, “and” is a better way of thinking about it then “or.” No, taking half an hour to nap, play ping pong or go for a walk will not put a damper on your career prospects. Compromise (which an eight-year-old quickly learns is the best way to obtain chocolate chips or squeeze in one more game of tag before bed) is key: don’t procrastinate for an entire evening and then spend the rest of the week making up for it – take a bit of time for yourself every day and work consistently.
- “Thank you Mommy!”: We don’t remind ourselves enough to be thankful, whether it’s for an internship, a good day, or simply the weather and waking up in the morning. For that matter, “thank you” are two words we don’t use nearly enough. You and the people around you are working hard – saying “thank you” validates that effort and makes everyone’s day a little brighter.
From the height of his 3-foot frame, the five-year-old asks: “Can we fight? Because if we fight, I think I’ll win.” Right now, I believe him. I just hope that one day, I’ll learn to live as simply and well as he does and be the one winning the tickle fight.
Contact Axelle Marcantetti at axellem ‘at’ stanford.edu.