The Calm within the Storm

Last weekend, my college hosted a Tedx event (Never heard of it? Check it out.) Regardless of the surprisingly low student turnout, I was excited. When our event makes it to the YouTube channel you’ll probably be able to see me geeking out from the second row when the camera pans to the audience.

The talks centered on fostering creativity, and though I didn’t take notes on them (like some of my well-prepared friends), I managed to remember one important take away. One of the earlier speakers mentioned the value of taking breaks in being creative. When you’re focusing all of your mental energy on solving a problem or coming up with a clever idea, she said, you can get wrapped up in your thoughts and become unable to consider other options. When you step away and do something else, your mind has space to wander, and may stumble upon the answer you need.

That theory has certainly been proven in my own life. Just this week I got frustrated with an essay and stomped away to take a shower. Sure enough, halfway through it I figured out exactly how to word the paragraph I was stuck on.

The timing of the Tedx Talk was serendipitous, because I’m approaching a huge mental break in my schedule: Fall Break. My college is one of those schools that never spares us a long weekend but does like to throw in huge chunks of vacation time. After classes end on Wednesday, we’ll have no school for the rest of the week. Four days without new assignments, class time, and rushing to finish assignments the night before they’re due. It’ll be the break to take a shower, go for a run, or eat a bunch of snacks while watching Netflix that I need this semester.

I’m excited to leave academia behind for a few days. I could feel myself on the edge of burning out this week, after pushing myself through a slew of presentations, essays, and major projects. Maybe I’ll just come back fresh and ready to work. Maybe I’ll have the mental energy to start writing poems again, or work on my future sitcom pilot, or come up with a kick-ass idea for a research project.

Who knows? The key is to take my mind off of it for a while.

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