Life Engineering

What have I been up to this semester?

Why how nice of you to ask, anonymous hypothetical person (remember, I’m operating under the delusion that people care). Here’s what my life currently looks like:

Mondays/Wednesday: Ballet. Pointe. World Dance History. Intro Neuroscience Class. Graham technique class. 15 minutes between everything.

Tuesdays/Thursdays: Literature. Writing. 90 minute lunch break. Ballet. Modern. Rehearsal. Some 15 minute breaks in there too.

On Fridays I basically just dance for 6-7 hours.

Given that my classes during the week are sort of all over the place and in a row, I spend a whole lot of time running across Broadway. I also study sometimes, because, you know, college.

That said, I’m really not trying to play the “my life is more difficult/stressful than yours” game, because not only does that represent a really unhealthy set of values, it also isn’t true for me. I love my schedule, it’s completely voluntary, and I was really lucky to be able to make it fit like this. (I also sleep more than anyone I know and do actually have fun, so I don’t really have the deprived martyr thing going for me.)

Still, did take me some time to figure out how to get through the week. Pursuing multiple things seriously isn’t all about lofty things like commitment and inspiration and interdisciplinary-ness and whatever other words are cool now. Sometimes its about stupid, practical things like stuffing a sandwich into your face while you wait for a traffic light. I call it “life engineering:” all the dumb little tweaks you have to make so that the big picture of your life works.

Some of my current personal survival strategies:

    • Steal a bunch zip-lock bags of food from the dining halls in the morning. Sometimes I can just eat during lectures, or when I have classes that don’t allow eating, I just stuff food in my face while I’m running between classes.
    • Layering: All of my outfits are various things worn on top of leotards and leggings. Unfortunately, I hate wearing regular people pants, since they just feel so stiff, restrictive, and generally oppressive. Wearing them on top of leggings only intensifies that feeling. This used to mean that I would often resort to wearing ginormous sweatpants (because college) but recently I’ve discovered this type of thing:

They feel like sweats but look moderately more socially acceptable. Brilliant.

  • Body spray: This is less of a survival strategy for me and more for the survival of the people sitting next to me. But my favorite scent is vanilla.
  • Read everywhere: Dante’s Inferno isn’t gonna read itself. Plus, when waiting for a lecture to start or stretching after rehearsal, it can be nice to escape the daily rush with a mental trip to the pits of hell.
  • Use weekends: one little known fact about Saturdays and Sundays is that they include several hours before 1 PM. Turns out, these hours can be used to drastically reduce your homework load for the following week.

As a side note, I want to remind college students that you all probably got up before 7, went to consecutive classes all day, and had class on Fridays in high school. It’s really not the end of the world.

What things do you do to get through your day?

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