College life: Taking surprises in stride an important part of fulfillment

By Toni Ann Pennello - [email protected]
Toni Ann Pennello Toni Ann Pennello -

Just when you think you have it down, life throws something else at you.

I think that’s one of the most painstaking lessons I’ve learned at college.

It might sound like the kind of lesson that toughens you. Mostly, though, it’s just acquainted me with how weird being an adult is sometimes; anything can happen at any moment, and, somehow, you need to just know how to deal with it.

This could manifest itself in ways that should have been anticipated — “Oh, God, this reading is 60 pages. Why did I put it off until the last minute without looking at how long it was?” Or, sometimes, it comes in ways that you couldn’t have anticipated, like when your roommate accidentally throws away a bag of art supplies you need for Art 101.

Both of those things happened to me early this week, and several similar situations have occurred since I began college three years ago.

I think the most important thing is learning to roll with the punches instead of letting yourself get bogged down. Part of that is every college student’s biggest challenge: time management.

I speak for a lot of students when I say the busier I am, the more productive I am. Having less time makes it all the more important to allocate it properly, and it definitely makes you pay more attention to how you’re spending it.

Recently I’ve planned every waking moment (and, hopefully, every sleeping moment) of my life three days in advance.

I know it’s excessive, but it helps.

I can’t, however, plan for every surprise. I would like to, but I can’t.

Part of me wishes the surprises would stop. Why can’t everything run smoothly all the time? Why do mistakes need to happen? Why did I have to lose my wallet today, only to find it deep in my backpack after hours of searching?

The other part of me loves the surprises.

My favorite teacher during my senior year of high school wrote in my yearbook: “May you live a full, complicated life.”

At first I thought this was an insult. Why would I want to live a complicated life?

Then I thought about it; how fun would life be if it wasn’t complicated? How interesting would my college experience be if I didn’t forget to do my homework until an hour before class every once in a while?

Those surprises, while exasperating, are what make life interesting, and I’ll only be stronger for getting through them.

Bring ’em on.

Toni Ann Pennello Ann Pennello

By Toni Ann Pennello

[email protected]

Toni Ann Pennello is a Wilkes University senior who works in the Times Leader newsroom. Reach her at [email protected]

Toni Ann Pennello is a Wilkes University senior who works in the Times Leader newsroom. Reach her at [email protected]