Rohit's Realm

// / archive / 2003 / 03 / 15 / how-much-wick-is-left

March 15, 2003

How Much Wick Is Left?

All my life, as long as I can remember back, I've had a tendency to burn both ends of the candle. Well, I suppose this phrase doesn't apply to my pre-high school days as directly, but definitely in the last six years, it seems like each year, I sleep less, work more, and have less time to do anything but what I'm already committed to. This trend has become especially significant since I began college because I fear I may be approaching maximum capacity.

My whole theory and underlying assumption behind my activities (both academic and social), has always been that there is a certain amount of effort that a person can humanely exert, before losing productivity, and that I'm still far from approaching that limit. Prior to last semester, I had never even thought about ever reaching my capacity, but when I returned home for winter break last semester, I realized that perhaps I can't go on piling activities into my schedule without something giving way. I was physically exhausted for an extended period of time, and recuperating from that semester took longer than it ever had before. Furthermore, my productivity (academically) definitely diminished, and I realized that, for one, I couldn't maintain two jobs and four technical classes.

This semester, in an attempt to lighten my load, I decided to drop one job, and only take three technical classes and one humanities class. Two months into the semester, I now have six classes, am still working around 15-20 hours a week at my job, and have CalSO commitments scheduled for the next 4 months. And to add to that, I'm probably going to be doing hall staff next year, depending on what happens in the next couple of weeks. I was offered both the job of Security Coordinator (SC) at Unit One (Putnam/Freeborn), and Resident Assistant (RA) at Unit Three (Ida Sproul/Priestley). It was a rather tough decision trying to make up my mind what to do, primarily because of the fact that the SC job is SO much easier than the RA job, but in the end I dropped the SC job, because I realized that I never really wanted to do that anyway—I wanted the RA experience and was willing to accept the associated responsibilities. Furthermore, location issues came into play, because Unit One is going to be under heavy construction again next year, which is not appealing in anyway. Seeing and especially hearing what goes on over there from RSSB (the new building behind the Crossroads, where ResComp's new office is), I wouldn't want to have to live there. Counteracting that however, is the fact that Unit 3 has the highest number of conduct issues of any of the residence halls, so being an RA in U3 is really a big job.

In the end it boiled down to me deciding that I wanted the experience so screw what it does to me physically. I think that this recent decision really embodies how I've always gone about with my life, going after things for the experience without really considering the effects they might have on me. In the last two years, I have worked or signed up to work as a CA, programmer, CalSO counselor, and now RA. And that's not to mention what I do to myself academically. I always have to take the hardest schedule as if I have something to prove to someone. But I don't—I never have felt the need to prove my worth to anyone except myself. Perhaps that's the root of the problem. The expectations I set for myself are so damn unreachable, that I never achieve any of them, and so just make things harder and harder for myself. And now, sitting here at midnight on a Saturday night, I'm just feeling burned out.

But not really. It's not like I don't feel like doing school work or work work or CalSO work or even hall staff work. If given the opportunity to do any of the above, I would gladly do it. The bigger problem is that, I can't just sit here and do nothing, which I really could afford to do right now without problem. When I end up not having much to do, I'm already thinking about sleeping early, so as to wake up early the next morning and study or work. I never one was the type of person to relax but now I fear that perhaps I may have become incapable of doing so. Further, I keep remembering a warning my dad gave me a while back about how a person can only go burning both ends of the candle for so long, before they just burn out and it's all over. So then I wonder, is it really worth it to be doing what I'm doing right now, in the way that I do it, and more importantly, if I keep on going like this, how long can I keep it up before I too just become another extinguished flame. But, the fact of the matter is, I really don't see my life in any other way then it is now and don't have any desire to lighten my load or lessen my commitments. I like things the way they are, am having a lot of fun, and have no regrets. I guess the only really important question left then is, how much wick did I have to start with, and how much do I have left?


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