Salsbury: Keep focused, but don’t go too crazy
- May. 3, 2012
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Checking off items on my to-do list can seem a bit cathartic at times. Finishing up those assignments I’ve long thought about or stressed over and finally crossing them off the list brings a huge sense of relief.
But what about my life before I starting making those lists? Except for those times when I approach the list too rigidly and forget to put items on it which I then forget about until much later, structuring my academic life in this way has been exceedingly rewarding and a stark contrast to how my life operated before.
The idea of seeing our lives as a structure is relatable to the idea that our society can be seen as a structure: the way the different aspects of the system are built up, whether they are the way we individually choose to live day-to-day or the way our society operates, clearly denotes the possibilities and limitations of that system.
As an example, I remember once when I actually did forget to place an item on the list and only remembered it the day before it was due. It luckily wasn’t worth too much in the grand scheme of my final grade for the course, but the fact that I forgot it completely clearly shows me how much of a slave to my own system I’ve become.
As I’ve mentioned once, this way of seeing our lives as structures translates from a student perspective to a societal perspective. If we continually repeat mistakes, whether they be individual ones such as studying for tests in similar ways and receiving similar grades, or societal ones such as addressing socioeconomic issues like poverty and coming to similar conclusions in terms of action to altering its patterns, then nothing will change. To truly make a difference, the structure itself has to change.
This way of seeing can be applied to any system: governmental politics, the bureaucracy of your office space, or the dynamics among you, your roommates, and the pile of dishes sitting in the sink. If you don’t take any time to think about why the structure isn’t working or why it continually leads to less-than-ideal circumstances, then you cannot expect the end-result to be different.
We need to be mindful of how our lives are structured and flip this structure over if we aren’t enjoying its effects. Individually, this could mean changing up your study habits if you aren’t getting the grades you desire or taking emotional time to step back and recover your sanity by doing other activities. Societally, this could mean analyzing those separate pieces of how systems have come into being and understanding how they could be structured differently to achieve different effects.
Above all, remember not be a slave to the system. It is only when we forget to assess our place inside of one that it can repeatedly take advantage of us
Salsbury is a senior in english, history of art, and global and international studies from Chapman.