Living in the Moment

The daily stresses and complaints are finally catching up to us, blinding us from this particular moment of our lives we are in

Jenna Erickson

More stories from Jenna Erickson

Eau Claire eats
April 2, 2020

As I have been getting acclimated into this new stage of life, I have been living in the moment as best as I can, not letting all of the stress take over — not yet at least.

My upper-classmen peers in high school always told me it goes by way too quickly, so I can only imagine that college does as well. “Enjoy it while it lasts,” is a phrase we should live by, since we usually don’t realize we miss something until it’s over. 

This is also why my mother wouldn’t let me bring my Volkswagen Jetta — my prized possession — to college this year. I was pretty upset about this, but now that I’ve been living here for the last couple of weeks without it, I totally understand why she said no.

As I have been getting acclimated into this new stage of life, I have been living in the moment as best as I can, not letting all of the stress take over — not yet at least. 

I have re-learned how to make friends and found out that there are people with the same interests and crazy personality as me. I’ve remembered music is something I am extremely passionate about and I want to continue pursuing it, even if it’s just as a side hobby. I’ve also narrowed down my options and come to the conclusion — through a lot of trial and error — that the teriyaki bowl in Davies is hands-down the best block meal, no questions asked. 

The dorm has been the last place I’ve been as I have been busy attending meetings for different clubs and orgs, which I advise every first-year to do. Also, the most organic way I have been evolving as an individual is by putting my phone down and fostering new relationships with people of all walks of life.

As I have just spit-balled some of the ways I have been ‘living in the moment’ here on campus for the past couple weeks, I want to inform you about the shifts in behaviors and emotions I’ve picked up on from my peers, a shift that is due to being in college and away from our “old norms” for a couple of weeks now.

Through simply sitting in the lounge area of Towers lobby, talking to people I’ve met on my dorm floor or even waiting in line at Einstein’s, I’ve come to notice the excitement we all saw on move-in day has slowly faded away.

By meeting new people on our residence floors, attending meetings for different ‘orgs’ and starting classes, we were excited for the first week. Fast forward to the brink of October and I’ve noticed a lot of first-year students, including myself, I will admit, complaining more often about the little things that get on our nerves on a day-to-day basis. 

To bluntly say it, we are letting the stress and lack of sleep from our work-loads slap us in the face.

“Obviously, your classes and homework are of (the) utmost importance when attending college,” said Dydra Arnold from The Daily Eastern News. “However, it is important not to let them consume you to the point where you are not enjoying other college experiences and activities.”

I’m not saying this transition should be easy, but one way to handle the stress of classes and deadlines is to stop dragging our feet through the mud. Although it may be a default mechanism to moan, rant or be negative, I don’t believe we should be living this way. 

It’s easy to forget about the exact moment in our lives we are living in. “It’s in our nature as human beings to take things for granted,” Ryan DisDeir explains in his article, “Why Living in the Moment is Important for College Students.”

These life-changing opportunities, remarkable people and amazing memories that make up our college years are some of the best moments of our lives, just ask your older relatives. We should not be going about our day with a negative mental attitude. Our years here on campus seem to be more valuable once we’ve graduated and get to talk about them in a conversation over dinner 15 years down the line. 

I encourage all my fellow first-years, during these first few months, to give yourself time to fully acclimate. Get involved in a club you have never heard of, pay extra attention in that class that you don’t particularly like, share a laugh with someone you don’t know as you’re both walking up the hill and breathing heavy, introduce yourself to a professor and learn something from them, put your phone down and have a genuine face-to-face interaction with a friend or even just go enjoy a teriyaki bowl.

I might just be an optimistic first-year who hasn’t suffered through the real struggles of college and knows absolutely nothing (because, frankly, I don’t), but I am here to say that no matter what you’re going through, it’s going to be worth it in the end. The discomforts and stresses that make you want to be a ”negative nelly,” due to this new chapter of your life, are completely justifiable and normal feelings as a first-year student, but they can help you change your attitude and from here on out, propel you forward to live in the moment.

Andy Bernard from “The Office” once said, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”  

Well, you’re in the good old days right now, so live in the now. After all, there’s no place more spectacular to live.

Erickson can be reached at [email protected].