The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Rede?ne your idea of what’s wasted

At our school many people will be impressed by the amount of work you have to do and even the extent to which you are worried about completing it.

Many people I talk to seem to wear this stress as a badge of honor, and they bask in it even though it’s emotionally draining.

Exams start in a few weeks, and then the semester will swiftly meet its end. This is a daunting prospect for me and, I would bet, for most of you out there, too.

We are about to step into a flurry of papers and exams that will make many students moan about all the time wasted from this past semester when they could have been working.

Well, I’m here to tell you that there is no such thing as wasted time.

You just have to redefine how you think about the time you have.

I see a lot of my friends stressed out about the deluge of projects and work that they are going to have to do before a certain date. But I don’t understand why.

If you begin with the assumption that you’ll be done by a certain time, then there’s no reason to worry.

It’s like you’ve already finished, you just have to go back now and do it.

I have responsibilities just like these friends do, and I have due dates. But having stress is the part I don’t understand, because I’m sure I’ll be finished eventually. Even though I’m not finished yet, I can usually dodge stress. And you can too.

Think about your own stress and how often you sit there and feel that horrible emptiness of “Will I even be able to finish this now that I have wasted so much time?”

I suggest that next time you feel that way, try thinking instead: “Ha HA! Stress! Now that I have rallied the troops with a rousing game of Farmville on Facebook, I shall destroy you!”

Wasting time is impossible because the activities you engage in when you aren’t working are just as important as the work itself, because they loosen you up.

If I couldn’t do other things to prepare to do actual work, I would be hard-pressed to get anything done at all.

In part, this must be a generational thing. The Internet expanded the possibilities for people to do other things than their chemistry homework.

Now that we have Facebook, it is hard to avoid spending some time playing applications when you should be doing something else. The same holds true for other inane activities.

But it’s not unique to us.

I’m sure the college students of yore stopped studying and played a game of hoop and stick in order to rest their quill hand.

Taking a timeout is the best way to start fresh and do some meaningful work, so the only problem is the guilty feeling associated with having schoolwork to do but instead watching “Lost.”

In order to do that, just remember that it’s a foregone conclusion that you are going to need some time to rest your brain.

Keep your breaks short enough that you’ll eventually finish all you have to, and don’t feel guilty about taking care of yourself.

The key is realizing that by the time class starts tomorrow, you will have finished your paper.

And right now your future self is going to let you play a few games of FreeCell to celebrate the victory that you will eventually have.

Reed Watson is a junior psychology major from Raleigh. Contact Reed at

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.