Stopping to Smell the Flowers

4 Oct

Have you ever thought about how lucky you are?  Not just lucky in the cliché,” I’m-the-luckiest-person-in-the-world” way, but truly lucky.  You go to Wash U, one of the top universities in the nation.  Our campus is beautiful, our food is great, and our facilities are unmatched.  You’ve probably met a group of friends here that you feel closer with than anyone from home.  You’re surrounded by intelligent individuals from a variety of backgrounds. Chances are you have supportive parents who care deeply about your education and overall well-being.  The majority of us have found an activity to connect with others on campus, whether it be involvement in a sport, Greek life, a capella group, etc., and find great joy in these groups.  The opportunities you’ve been given here can be matched in very few other places across the country (Did tennis legend Billie Jean King visit your home state school? Probably not).  But too often these blessings are taken for granted and overlooked as we become bogged down by stress and worried about the future.

I rarely go an hour without running over a to-do list in my brain—it goes a little something like this, “Class until 1, group meeting at 3, basketball from 4-7, eat, shower, homework, bed (hopefully) before 1.”  My days run together as completed tasks are replaced with new ones.  This vicious cycle leaves me stressed, run down, and stretched very thin.  It’s difficult to keep the big picture in perspective when deadlines approach, big games come up, and other obligations arise.  However, I’ve found that taking a few moments to stop and smell the flowers can be a refreshing and invigorating technique.  After all, how many times have we heard that these are the best four years of our lives?  And how many times has someone expressed nostalgia and a desire to return to their college years?  From a management communication perspective, your ability to relax and enjoy the small things in life may actually be helpful in your career.  You will be more well-rounded and be able to step away from a problem and reassess its importance before becoming too emotionally involved.  If you hope to be a manager someday, your employees will likely respond better to a boss who isn’t stressed and panicked all the time.  And if you’re looking for a promotion, your boss is likely to acknowledge your gratitude and appreciation of the small things the company provides you.

I, and probably many of you, feel a lot of pressure to perform well in school and delve into a wide variety of extracurriculars to land a top internship before my senior year, which will inevitably lead to a job after graduation.  This is not entirely a bad thing as it keeps me motivated and purposeful in my actions.  But I’m working on not letting it take over my life—I’m also enjoying the little things, like going to dinner in the Central West End with my suitemates or playing intramural soccer with my basketball team.  During these moments, I’m reminded of the beauty of our school and the joy of community.  We are truly lucky.

by Lucy Montgomery

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One Response to “Stopping to Smell the Flowers”

  1. Casey Hochberg October 11, 2011 at 12:11 am #

    Lucy,
    This topic is so relatable and easy to read. Your insights really made me think and I loved the narrative style. Thanks for the advice!

    Best,
    Casey

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