OPINION: Life isn’t fun sometimes and that’s okay

Ethan Leckie, Opinions Reporter

As Thanksgiving break approaches, I’ve been getting the feeling that pretty much everyone on this campus needs a chance to catch their breath (especially after course registration). 

Let’s face it- we’ve been through a lot this semester. Two hurricanes, a boil water advisory, skyrocketing inflation that led (in part) to an on-campus housing shortage, terrible parking, antisemitism, extremist “preachers” that never miss the chance to tell me my shorts are too short (And make fun of my mustache. True Christians.), phishing scams, racism, and the worst of them all… stolen hamburger patties. I could end my piece right here, and my point would be made, but I get paid too much to do that, and I’d probably be fired, so I’ll continue. 

We’ve been through all that, and we’re still pushing through. However, I’m not gonna lie- it’s starting to weigh me down a bit. My motivation isn’t where it was back in August. My grades are good, but I feel like I need a break. This sounds crazy, but my biggest concerns in college are things that have nothing to do with my classes.

Like a lot of people, college was the first time that I began living on my own. I have to cook, clean, budget my money (still working on that), and manage my time with minimal outside help. On top of all that, there are the added responsibilities of being a student, and then between those things we’re supposed to find time to have a social life. School is the easiest part; if that were the only thing I had to worry about, I’d be more zen than a monk.

University of North Florida sign
The UNF sign at the front of the entrance to campus. (Justin Nedrow)

So when our motivation drops, it makes sense. We are constantly tasked with doing things, so it’s no surprise that sometimes we simply don’t want to do them. We put so much pressure on ourselves to always be productive that it’s easy to feel guilty about spending your Saturday eating pizza and watching The Godfather instead of getting a head start on that essay.

I think we forget that our value isn’t determined by our propensity to produce. I know we’re always told things like this, but we never seem to take it to heart. I think it’s because of our education system and society, as a whole, value performance over any legitimate comprehension. What’s the point of having an in-depth understanding if it doesn’t get me an A-plus? What’s the point of being well-read if it doesn’t get me this job? 

When people would say that I should celebrate getting out of bed in the morning, I always thought that was stupid- getting out of bed? Might as well celebrate having hair on my body too, I thought. It wasn’t until I started living on my own that I came to appreciate this way of thinking. The number of times I had woken up, past my alarm, with only minutes to spare before my classes started is too many to count. Sometimes I made it on time. Sometimes I didn’t. All in all, it made me realize that even those small, ridiculously simple things can make a huge impact on my day. Sometimes, it’s the only part of my day that went well.

Allow me to let you in on a little secret- life sucks sometimes. Sometimes you’re unmotivated. Sometimes bad things happen to you or those around you. Sometimes you have a 1000-word essay due in three hours on a topic you know nothing about (Just me? Ok.). Sure, there are plenty of things you could do to ease your stress, but the biggest one is simply accepting that it doesn’t always go your way.

The best opportunity I’ve had to learn this lesson is, believe it or not, as an opinion reporter for Spinnaker. Sometimes people like what I write, and other times… not so much. I’ve come to learn that if you’re looking for constant approval, this is not the profession for you. I will be completely transparent, the criticism used to bother me, but I’m more surprised by the fact that people take the time to read, analyze, and respond to the points I make. It’s pretty cool, whether the audience agrees with me or not, that they care enough to engage with my work.

So the next time you find yourself having a dearth of motivation, getting randomly accosted by the “preachers,” or even somehow breaking a sprinkler head in your dorm room, know that it will be ok (but do call UNFPD about that last one, though).   


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