Op-Ed: The Case for Impulsivity

By Katie Clarke | | Contributing Writer

I start my week by getting up for an 8AM and making sure I stop at Blue Line for a large London Fog ten minutes before class, usually resulting in my arrival at LSP somewhere between 7:58 and 8:02. After class ends at 8:51 AM, I start the hunt for food, almost always relying on my microwavable Cinnamon Roll Quaker Oats — the best kind, without argument. When I finish with the whole ordeal it’s about 9:25 AM. Not only did I just share with you my morning routine and bizarre love for cinnamon instant oatmeal, but my intensely regimented schedule that is difficult to break. As the day continues, I find myself swallowed by meetings, homework, practices, you name it. Despite my best efforts, I can’t break the pattern. Even if I want to, I still find myself following a self-fulfilling process, doing what I’ve always done out of comfort or because I feel like I do not have any other options. 

 I have no doubt you are quite familiar with what I mean. We all have a mundane routine of getting up, going to class, doing homework, staring at the wall, pretending to do homework, remembering to eat, and then falling asleep to wake up and not remember when the falling asleep occurred. And yes, it is depressing. But this is college, right? College is supposed to be hard and a general blur during the week. But here I am, about to go against the Law of College to make the bold claim that it does not have to be this way. There are ways we can change the norm. We only have to try. 

So… just hear me out for a second. By the time the weekend rolls around, I am just looking to feel like a human, feeling human feels and doing human things, as classically emo as that may sound.  A desire to attain this vision and switch up my life a little bit resulted in four piercings in one day, a fairly out of character move for a girl scared of needles. But that’s a story for another time.  The point of sharing this little blip in time is to show that I needed to get out of my comfort zone and do something new, exciting, and maybe a tad painful to work my way out of the college rut and just have fun. 

I have no doubt that it sounds silly, someone telling you that to beat college burnout you should go get a few piercings and it will turn your life around; however, it may not be the activity itself that causes relief and a sense of freedom, but the affirmation of impulse itself. I did not give it too much thought. I decided I wanted piercings so I went to get them. My choice to follow my intuition and act on impulse resulted in greater awareness of taking the time to do something for myself. It showed that I could trust myself and achieve an outcome that was not originally planned, but was still extremely pleasurable. 

Trusting ourselves and allowing room for spontaneity are things we can all do as a reminder that there is more to life than color coding an agenda and physically penciling people in (strictly-routined people, that one is for you!). And I get it, some things warrant planning in advance, but not everything needs to be scheduled. Contrary to common thought, impulsive behavior is not inherently reckless. Don’t underestimate the power and pleasure of doing things that were not originally a part of the plan —  even little things like running to Starbucks at night with friends or taking an extra ticket to a concert the day before the show. 

If we make a point to vary our days, there is a greater chance we will feel less tied and confined to our regular routines, paving the way for a blissful moment of relaxation and fun away from academic engagements. The next time you are faced with the Sunday Scaries or cramming hard for an exam, don’t hesitate to do something out of the usual. Take time for happiness and say yes to new experiences. 

Sophomore Katie Clarke is a Contributing Writer.  Her email is kclarke@fandm.edu

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