‘What sings to your soul’

This was the second time I found myself muttering expletives under my breath, rushing around and nearly forgetting books for Dr. Vandana Shiva to sign and important interviews — all in the span of four hours.

Breathe, I scolded myself. Just breathe.

I have a tendency to start forgetting when my mind starts to wander, or when the pace around me starts to frizzle and I start to fizzle out like a firecracker with no more amo.

When I have opportunity, my ambition races ahead of me — sprinting 10 miles above and beyond the normal human pace. (But what is normal? I would like to know.)

The opportunity to pursue ‘departmental honors’ in the Bachelor of Specialized Studies program was proffered to me on a silver, shining platter last week — and I’ve scarcely thought about anything else since.

It’s an opportunity to creatively pursue a research focus that genuinely interests me, like feminist political ecology playing out in our national parks. It’s an opportunity  to get course credit on a solo-based project — course credit I would otherwise need to reach that magic number of 15 credits per semester (to keep those life-supporting scholarships, of course). It’s also an opportunity for me to revert back into my 4.2-GPA high school mentality of grades, points, and classroom achievement seeking self.

That girl has been hibernating for three years now, and she’s apparently still beckoning to come out of her library-encrusted shelf.

I like so-called real life, but I still like doing my own research. I like autonomy. I like control, when I can control it. I like being creative and exploiting the loopholes — cheating the system to get what I want, if you will. But don’t we all?

So what gives? Can I really: graduate with honors in a specialized degree, earn two minors, earn a certificate, work a research job, and still enjoy my senior year? (Oh yeah, and find a job for post-May 2018…)

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Something’s got to give.

“I feel like now I’m just checking off all these boxes,” I said to my mentor on Monday afternoon — walking (yes! walking pain-free!) in my orange-and-white interview-dress and bright-pink Nike running shoes. My outfit was a messy-uncoordinated manifestation of my mind, at that point.

“Maybe, I shouldn’t check off all those boxes, just because,” I continued, muscling through my myriad options for what’s gearing up to be a next-semester showdown. “Maybe that’s my lesson here: you can’t do it all.”

She walked beside me, letting me chew on the words of my own thoughts — like she does best.

“I just don’t want my time to crunch me,” I blurted out, exasperated by all my unknown options.

My mentor turned towards me and, in a rare profession of hippy-dippy wisdom, said: “I want you to do what sings to your soul.

“You’ve got a basket. A basket that’s, right now, full and bursting. You could either walk out of the store with all that fruit — a little squished, a little bruised — but all of it still in your basket.

“Or, you could take some of the fruit out of the basket and still walk out of the store with some fruit. Not as much, a lighter basket for sure, but fruit in the hand nonetheless.”

How will I pick? What will I choose, when there’s so much good fruit to go around?