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Art by Marc Johns

There is such thing as too much of a good thing and for me, that good thing is unstructured free time. It’s not that I don’t love (and need) some down-time, it’s just that too much of it makes me antsy and uncomfortable. This is such a privileged problem to have but friends, the struggle is real. This last year was so jam-packed with classes and studying and career things that I barely had time to do laundry let alone read a book. But here I am now with all this time and I find it…unnerving.

I’ve never fantasized about fame or fortune. I didn’t want to be Britney Spears or Bill Gates. I think being rich and famous is pretty overrated, frankly. What really rings my bell is a purpose. A mission. A vision. A cause. No surprise, then, that I’ve built a career in the social sector. But graduate school has felt unsettling for several reasons, one of which being that it feels terribly selfish. I wake up every day, go learn new things, and then do homework, take tests, and write papers. Then I’m given a grade which rarely reflects what I actually learned or how proficient I am in the subject. Then I wake up and do it all over again. I don’t feel like I’m actually doing anything useful. I know this is all in service of having greater impact in the future and blah, blah, blah. For the last year it’s felt like I just showed up and pushed paper around. Maybe it’s the program I’m in, or maybe it’s because I was out of school for so long. Maybe graduate school was a wild and reckless choice.

Yet here I am. Summer break. With what feels like an endless expanse of luxury and angst: time. I am 100% certain that I will look back at this in a few months or a few years and roll my eyes and click my tongue and wonder what I was thinking. But for now, I’m resisting the urge to fill the time with whatever I can grab. And heaven knows there’s plenty to grab. For now, I’m going to play a bit. If I even remember how.

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