I dressed for the weather all week last week, and suffice it to say, it was underwhelming. It’s the point in the semester where everything begins to fall apart: Midterms are coming, projects fly up out of the blue and the stress of being in college and having tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt really starts taking its mental toll.
I told my friend Hannah my objective of the week was to dress for the weather, and she raised her eyebrows.
“Your plans to get your life on track are pretty much just basic self-care. Eating three meals a day? Dressing for snow if it’s snowing?” she said.
She was right, obviously. I’ve never been great at the basics. The thing is, I don’t think the root of my problem is being unable to do the basic things many people take for granted. I think the root might be my lack of conscientiousness.
I learned about the five main personality traits in freshman psychology. The gist is that one’s personality is composed of five main traits: agreeableness, extraversion, openness, neuroticism and conscientiousness. When I take a personality test based on these five traits, my results are, invariably, ridiculously low in conscientiousness.
According to chegg.com, a study-help website, conscientiousness is “a personality trait characterized by organization, purposeful action, self-discipline, and a drive to achieve.”
I’m just not an organized, purposeful action, self-disciplined kind of gal and I never have been. I’m sure there are thousands of fellow students who can relate but still want to have their lives together regardless.
I’ve gotten pretty good at only doing things I love: Reading, talking to people, writing, spending time with adolescents and thinking about the meaning of life. However, when I have to do something I don’t love, it gets shoved deep down to the bottom of my priority list, underneath brushing my hair and washing my jeans (you can literally wear jeans as many times as you want without washing them, fight me).
Why? Because I don’t have an inner voice motivating me to do anything for any reason other than passion.
I can’t change the composition of my personality, but I can find a way to motivate myself to get the less-enjoyable things done in a semi-timely manner.
I had the worst week. I was endlessly stressed, called my best friend and left a screaming/sobbing voicemail and couldn’t bring myself to really study for that biology exam. Instead, I scrolled Instagram endlessly, called my friends and stared at the Quizlet pulled up on my laptop, taunting me.
This has to change. I’m tired of being limited to excellence only in what I love. I could be excellent at biology if I could motivate myself to care — of this I’m certain.
It’s time to put aside the froo froo, three meals a day, surface level fixes. This is a rallying call for me and for every person who just doesn’t have that inner voice telling them to be excellent. Next week over spring break, I’m going to figure out how to motivate my other four personality traits so I can be effective at anything I choose.
Fellow students whose lives are in danger of being crushed by an avalanche of adult responsibility: I’m here to figure out how to get it together for you.
Does it work? Is this the week I turn myself around for good? We’ll find out. It’s a desperate world out there folks; stay on top of it.