Don’t let being unproductive ruin downtime

By Sriram Karumbunathan, Columnist

Winter break was fantastic. I’m pretty sure most of us can agree. 

I went to India and visited a lot of my family. It was a joy  being around those who I do not normally have the luxury of seeing, such as my little cousins, aunts and uncles. It really made my break that much more enjoyable because I am only able to see these family members once every two years. Since our time together is valuable and scarce, my family members were all trying to spend every minute with me that they could.

It should have been a perfect break, yet for some reason I didn’t feel right about spending time without working or having nothing looming over my head. It may sound silly, but this gnawing feeling that came with not being busy nearly ruined my vacation.

While I was cleaning up after my 2-year-old cousin who was running around, I slowly felt something turn in my stomach. I soon realized it was my mind telling me I wasn’t doing anything productive. During the semester, I had become so accustomed to constantly doing work and having more work to do that I could not go a few days without being productive.

When I say productive, I mean having some sort of goal in mind and finishing that goal within a reasonable amount of time. During the semester, there is always something I must do, whether it be work or homework. As the semesters have gone by, I’ve gotten accustomed to this busy schedule.

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This all finally hit over my long winter break as I was spending my time relaxing instead of being constantly on the move. I had cleared up my schedule so I could take two weeks in India, yet when it finally came time to relax, I found myself still thinking about what had to be done when I got back home.

This is not entirely a negative thing, as I’m better with managing my time than I was before college, but it did take away from my vacation quite a bit. I think once I get away from college, or at the very least undergrad, where hours are packed tight with work, I will adjust to having a set time to work and a set time to enjoy myself. It’s important to enjoy time away from work; it helps us recharge and reassess our values and goals. 

But right now, in the college environment, my mindset has shifted to adjust to my hectic schedule. It’s just one of the many things college has changed about me, and while it does help me with my coursework, I think it’s important to realize there should be times where we don’t need to do anything, and that is perfectly fine.

Sriram is a junior in Engineering. 

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