As of late many of my tasks have been for the future; tests, paper, applications, submissions, etc. It’s sometimes difficult to maintain motivation with tasks like these, and rightfully so. After all, they are inherently not for the present, they’re an investment in the future: a good grade, a job, a first place trophy.
But that’s all school is; an investment. Yes, monetarily, but also of time, of energy, of commitment. I write this after a long week. Let me tell you about that first.
Monday was the beginning of Passover and, as such, Hillel put on our annual Passover Seder. We held it in the Rofunda and hosted 120 people for an evening of food, service, and songs, and it went perfectly. But that evening from 6-8:30 wasn’t the effort, it was the result. The result of meetings with conference services since December, the result of months of University and Washington State paperwork in order to serve alcohol (Manischewitz for the win), and hours of practicing and delegating the service prayer by prayer, song by song.
Investment was certainly a common theme this week. I had an exam in my US Public Policy class, my submission for the Book Collecting Contest was due, and my application for an NPR internship (which I’d been working on with Career and Employment Services/stressing about for weeks) were due. But come Friday evening I felt no different. There was no grade, there was no award, there was no job waiting for me at the end, and this next week is proving to be similar.
Perhaps to the chagrin of some Buddhists out there, our Judeo-Christian (yes, I know it’s a horribly loaded term but I’m using it anyway) culture is about the future. It’s about doing good now so that we can reap benefits later. You’ll find it everywhere; in Judaism where we live out tikkun olam in order to leave a better world for our children, in the workplace where we are compensated for our time in order garner its value later, and even in school. In school we invest our resources and our attention into expanding our minds and stretching them in different ways so that on the other end we can be more informed and better engaged members of society.
But after all, we are human and we want to be rewarded immediately as well. Everyone incentivizes themselves differently, it seems. My friend Kyle rewards himself with carrots and hummus while the infamous Aaron Pomerantz rewards himself with more coffee. My reward this weekend was air: breathing room. I gave myself an entire day off to enjoy Tacoma’s magnificent gift of sun. I attended my Passages Co-Leader’ viola recital, enjoyed a trampoline jump, and (as I’ve done every day this week) had dinner with Hillel for Passover.
This next week is proving to again be challenging (I have a Contemporary US Literature paper due Friday, a Paradise Lost paper, a Sociology exam, and my three clubs’ budgets due this week) but it’ll be worthwhile. I just need to keep my chin up and remind myself of the rewards in store.