By Nina Knight
It’s hard to know what to prioritize or how to organize the many tasks you need to get done. Academics matter a lot to me, plus I’m at college to learn and earn a degree. However, this is the largest and most diverse community I have ever been a part of, so it seems wasteful to not partake and create relationships with others. Meanwhile, I do truly miss people back home and from other areas of my life, and while they are not here with me, I want to continue developing those connections. Then, some days I take on a self-care route, which I highly recommend as we approach midterms. I clean my room, do laundry, organize my desk, work out and eat a salad. While this takes time away from going out and socializing, it provides me a sense of calm as though I may actually have my life put together enough to pretend to be an adult.
So how do I choose what to prioritize? If I choose one thing over another, am I making the wrong decision? I have never been one to have FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). I am perfectly content with staying in my room during a large gathering (@FMOTQ), but since coming to college, I don’t have the security in relationships I once had. I realized recently that I have to make an effort and reach out in order to have connections worth going out for, which is circuitous, paradoxical thinking. While I don’t worry about everyone having fun without me, I worry as I stare out my dorm room window in melodramatic fashion while Frank Ocean plays in the background that I am not doing what I’m “supposed to be doing” in college. AKA: going out, having fun and other ambiguous phrases that seem to define some people’s college experiences. But I want to build relationships here and have an at least mediocre social life, so maybe I have to prioritize that. It would almost be easier if I weren’t okay with doing my own thing — that feeling of missing out would force me outside my normal social boundaries. So, maybe I need to prioritize relationships here at Stanford.
Missing people from home can be difficult, and wanting to keep those relationships strong while states apart from each other can require some extra effort. While I am making new connections here and they are making new connections at their respective colleges, we try to stay in contact. It can be hard, especially when you decide to prioritize the relationships in front of you — which is a totally fair thing to do and something I’ve had to navigate carefully. I came to college to “expand horizons” or what-have-you, but does that mean I cannot maintain older friendships? Can I not have both? Am I doing an injustice to myself either way? Why do I, a person who is usually very decisive and comfortable with herself, all of a sudden have so many questions about how and where I choose to spend my time?
Then I decide to say screw it and focus on myself in a self-care kind of way. I tell myself to let the universe do its thing and that I will eventually find my “people” and that those meant to stay in my life will do just that. I focus on working out every day and maintaining a somewhat healthy diet. I keep my room clean, get all my homework done and fully invest myself in my extracurriculars — especially The Daily 🙂 — hoping that, in the meantime, everything else will fall into place around me. Then, I won’t have to prioritize and will escape the endless torture of my inner dilemma.
Contact Nina Knight at ngknight ‘at’ stanford.edu.