Hey. It’s been a while.
I’ve been meaning to write a blog post since, to be truthful, the first week I moved to Penn. However, as usual, things piled on top of each other, and I was left with one tragic demise of a post.
So here I am now. Week six, I believe, of college. Since my time here, I think the question I’ve been asked the most (besides what’s your name) is “How have you been?”. I’m never too sure how to answer. On one hand, one could say I’m “thriving.” I am doing relatively well in my classes, I’m making friends and meeting new people every week, and I’m productive. I managed to get a job in a neuroscience lab, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. I joined the symphony orchestra. I found a solid church with the most welcoming people. Yeah, on paper and in words, life is good.
But is it?
Over lunch with a friend the other day, I realized that I haven’t really been taking anything in — that is, in many ways, I’ve just been rolling through the motions. The monotonous days of waking up at 8, going to class, then to work, and then sleeping at 1 are deafening. I haven’t been in tune to what’s been going on in the world; I haven’t been keeping up with the news as much as I used to. Politics, which was once a clear affair in my head, is now a distant mess. Photography in itself, which used to be the key point in my life, is now a thing of the past. I’m clutching onto my roots and interests until my knuckles are white, as time and busyness try to pry them out of my hands.
“If you don’t take time to reflect, it’s easy to get caught up in the blur of life,” my friend told me. I thought about this a lot, and it’s true. In the brief moments of calmness found in the calamity, I wonder why I do this to myself — why I cannot let myself rest and be satisfied with that of which I already accomplished. It’s a bit dangerous, this insistent cycle of self-doubt, deprecation, and dissatisfaction. People say that Penn fuels this hustle mentality- this constancy of grinding and climbing to the top. But is it Penn itself that fuels it, or are Penn students just wired that way? In some aspects, I really feel that I belong here because of this shared, cursed mentality. But at the same time, I wonder if it is healthy for me to be surrounded by, quite frankly, other me’s. These are the thoughts that tumult in my mind as I run from one end of campus to another; as I scarf down a meal in between class and work, and as I see a bone-weary, eye-bagged girl when I look in the mirror.
I have faith that in the end, everything will turn out. I won’t let myself burn out. However, I do wonder if there will be a time when I am satisfied with myself- if I will let myself rest.