Students should learn to appreciate the present

Living in the moment leads to a better college experience. (tcnj.edu)

By Eric Preisler
Production Manager

As the semester progresses, work accumulates, exams commence, and stress begins to consume me. As soon as the workload of the semester piles up and challenges approach, it can be easy to look forward to the end of the semester. Eyes gazed into the distance, it can feel natural to go on autopilot as I look forward to the future, and the present flies by.

Wishing and preparing for the future comes naturally to me. In high school, I anticipated for graduation and the beginning of college. Even recently, I am focused on getting into the best graduate program and landing a good job. In the midst of pressure and chaos, I have a tendency to focus on the end goal without attending to my surroundings in the present.

After a stressful week of projects and midterms, I realized that I have not been fully living in the moment or appreciating my time at the College this fall. I realized how finite our time at college is — just a year ago the campus still seemed new to me, and by next year I will be close to graduating.

Our time at the College is fleeting and we should make the best out of these years by recognizing our full range of emotions, including our lows and our highs. While reflecting on the causes of my stress, I realized that I have a lot to be thankful for. Just being in college, and having that be the focal point of my struggles puts me in a more privileged situation than most of the world.

It is also important to recognize the mistakes we make — this may be one of the only times in our lives when can do poorly on an assignment, flunk an exam, or screw up in some other aspect of our lives without immediately facing serious consequences. Living in the moment can allow us to learn and grow from the mistakes we make in the present.

Wishing away our limited number of semesters also prevents us from creating positive experiences and memories. Solely focusing on the importance of the future and the end of a chapter only inhibits the potential at which life can be experienced.

The time we spend in college is ephemeral — in just a few years we will move onto a new chapter of our lives and an entirely different population will make up the College. Since our time here is limited, we should focus on enjoying and learning as much as we can from the present moment. Growing from our experiences in the present can contribute to our success in the future.