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Time flies; Savor the moments when it doesn’t

When I was in Kindergarten, I told myself, “When I grow up I want to be a bus driver.”

In middle school, I said, “I can’t wait until I’m a high schooler”.

In high school, I thought, “Geez I can’t wait to be done and just go to college.”

And when college came, COVID-19 hit.

I’m a junior now and only a month away from senior status. As class registration for Fall 2022 creeps closer, I find myself asking, “How the heck did I get here?”

It’s no secret that COVID-19 stole time from all of us. Memories that could’ve been remain ghosts of the future-past, and the present feels like it’s somehow out of place. 

I want to blame the pandemic and say that I had no control over how the past three years slipped through my fingers… How the hands on the clock seem to be lapping me faster and faster every day. But weird as it may sound, I think the real time thief is the extent to which we all try to “get the most out of every day”. 

At St. Olaf, I’m constantly surrounded by some of the most creative, intelligent, and driven people that I have ever met in my life. Everyone always seems to be doing something to achieve their biggest and brightest dreams, and it’s absolutely amazing. But deep down, I think many of us lose ourselves in our spear-headed endeavors. Many Oles go straight from classes to meals to clubs to sports/music practices to SI sessions to work to sleep, with few, if any, breaks in between. Even when we do have a moment, it tends to be with phones in our faces and AirPods in our ears.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of college that sometimes it carries us away before we even realize it. 

My advice to reign in Father Time: give yourself permission to be bored. 

Being bored sucks, but I’m starting to notice boredom’s absence in my life. My brain has become so dependent on having constant entertainment that I notice myself opening Instagram any time I’m alone with my thoughts for over ten seconds. The constant input is killing spontaneity.

Which now brings me back to wanting to be a bus driver. 

As the first morning pick-up and last afternoon drop-off, I used to have to spend two hours every day on the school bus. After Kindergarten, I mostly remember hating every minute of it, but now I look back at those long, ten years and remember how much my imagination used to run wild while staring out the window. Time on the bus forced me to take two full hours every day to be bored and let myself just think. I can’t tell you what I would give to have two hours today, dedicated purely to being with boredom and the slowed-down company of Time.

Cassidy Schnell’s majors are film and media studies, and environmental studies.