College is terrible for procrastination.You don’t have anyone there to babysit you into doing your work or pressure you to get your stuff done by the deadline. I have a pretty good handle on how to discipline myself into doing my work and getting by alright, but I have been pushing it to the limit lately, and that’s mainly because I’m tired. Like, all the time. I’m so tired I can barely keep my eyes open in class. That ends up stressing me out and that makes my anxiety act up, which makes me throw up and keeps me awake, thus creating the worst positive feedback loop aside from the greenhouse effect. The lack of sleep is depressing me and giving me headaches and a lot of other shitty feelings. I want to get rid of those shitty feelings.
So I’ve dug around for the root of my problem and I think I’ve figured it out. I think I know why everything pisses me off. I think I know why I feel distant from my best friend. And I think I know why I don’t want to bother with trying my hardest.
I’ve fallen behind. Not in terms of schoolwork, but in my age group. For the majority of my life, I was ahead of everyone else. I had the best grades, the best understanding of material, the best graces of people I met.
Then I stopped on my metaphorical journey through life to take a look at my surroundings and I realized that I never even got on the train.
To name a few examples: my best friends can drive and I cannot, my best friends have jobs and I do not, my best friends volunteer and I do not. I pride myself on my achievements, but the last time I made a real achievement was graduating from high school.
I think, because of this, it’s time to catch up.
Over the course of this semester, I have received three invitations to join prestigious honor societies. I asked one of my Honors advisers if I should join the first one and she told me it would be a wonderful opportunity to have my name associated with that society, but that I should keep in mind these societies are not just a title I can attach to my resume. The whole point of joining is to participate and be involved with the chapter so I have something to show for being in the society. I thought about it for a very long time (long enough that I almost didn’t make the deadline) and I accepted the invitation for membership.
The other two invitations came in the last month. I don’t know if I should join mainly because I don’t know if I’ll be worth the paper it takes to print out my invitation. I want to be more than I am right now, and for that I need to get out of the house and get involved.
It makes me think about the Honors College at UNLV. I am in the college and I maintain my grades and I adore the honors classes I get to take, but I have never felt welcome in the college. Note that this is not the same thing as feeling unwelcome, which they try their hardest—students, professors, and advisers—to make sure doesn’t happen. But I’ve never felt like I was truly part of the college.
To put the feeling into words, it’s like having a three-hour layover at an airport, paying for the day pass at the first-class lounge, and chilling out in that lounge with all these people who actually have first-class tickets. Money isn’t a big part of the actual situation I’m in, but the weird, passive alienation is (and that alienation is passive because they aren’t the ones doing it—you’re the one most responsible for how different and out of place you feel). So my thoughts on the Honors College, for the longest time, were – Oh man, they could care less about me, even though that’s not the truth of the matter at all.
And I thought this because of several reasons – the list of scholarships they send out never include anything for English majors (or almost any of the humanities or liberal arts), the clubs and events they have are about strategy, fitness, or All-American themes (like picnics, kickball tournaments, and board-game parties – the last thing I want to do), and the only things that appeal to me like the academic workshops and all these other fantastic, informative, and helpful sessions with trained professionals just so happen to be scheduled during my class times.
Naturally, I was feeling a little left out and I blamed the HC for making me feel that way. But that is not the case. What’s wrong with the way I feel isn’t a result of the way the Honors College is run, but a result of my own negativity and my own failure to participate in the Honors College. I have failed to participate so that I could create or help influence the Honors College to make more events and opportunities available to students who, like me, don’t find any appeal in what exists now of their social and academic endeavors.
And that brings me back to those honor societies I was invited to join. Yes, it would be amazing and wonderfully pretentious if I could just plop those organization names onto my resume or my CV and have future employers or college admissions officers gawk at my achievements while I go on and on about how active I am in my university chapters and how dedicated I am to academic success. But am I going to do with those organizations what I have done so far with the Honors College, or am I actually going to get involved and have something to show for even having those names attached to mine? I don’t know.
There’s no shame in not knowing – I’ll admit it. No, I’ll state it because the word “admit” suggests there is shame in not knowing and that isn’t the case here. I don’t know a lot of things. This is something that will be resolved through time and my own development as a college student.
My feelings for the Honors College have changed some. I still don’t feel like I deserve to be in the Honors College if I don’t get straight A’s, but I feel better about going in there and participating in things that I wasn’t comfortable doing before. I’m trying to do better, and that gives me hope that I’ll do better in other areas of my life.
Maybe I’ll have my own car, and a job to support that car, and volunteer work under my belt soon. Maybe I won’t, but I know I won’t let myself get frustrated by it anymore. I mean, I got straight A’s again this semester when I thought I didn’t put forth my best effort, so I must be going in the right direction and that’s good enough for me to think I’ll come out of this rut as a different and better person.