I promise I’m learning a lot this semester, I just can’t seem to remember or find the time to process what it is.
I work shifts at the Missourian four nights a week, two as a copy editor and two as an assistant city editor. Even when I’m not working a shift, I feel compelled to spend a bit of time in the newsroom, doing what I can to help out or just being there because sometimes I physically don’t know what to do when I’m not in the newsroom. Except that what I do when I’m not through the newsroom is wade through the 100-plus emails I get every day. Or I check the daily budget to figure out what I should be expecting later in the week. Or I walk down the street and feel compelled to check all the random public announcement boards because even though I’m not technically reporting I might find some random story idea. Or I read the AP Stylebook so I can make it through my weekly editing quizzes, or I read the news so I can survive the current events portion of said quizzes. Or I go home at who-knows-what hour from a shift and think to myself “I should do homework” but then proceed to surf the Internet for an hour because I’m too burned out and too infected with senioritis to want to do my homework anyway and then I set up an alarm for the next morning and figure I’ll do my homework then but when the alarm goes off I just hit the snooze button anyway until I figure I’ll just go to class and fake it and catch up on my homework later.
And then I do it all again.
Now, lest everyone freak out and think I’m excessively stressed out, let me lay that notion to rest. I like both of my jobs at the Missourian. A lot. So much it sometimes surprises me. I’ve had a couple of people ask me how my stress levels are doing this semester, and I almost feel confused and out of character when I honestly say, “Actually, things are going pretty well. I’m reasonably happy with where I’m at.”
So it’s not that I’m feeling overwhelmed. Because I’m not. It’s just that I’m figuring out how to mentally process being so busy and having to do so many things at once. I’m trying to figure out how to sift through huge amounts of information and inches upon inches of text and incoherent scanner chatter and 13 hours of classes and having a semblance of a social life to figure out how I need to grow and where I need to focus my energies in all parts of my life. It’s perhaps the most bizarre time management balancing act I’ve ever encountered.
But even in the middle of that, I’m finding that I know a little bit more about how to find that balance than I think. I practically ran out of the end of my copy desk shift to make it to my close friend’s engagement party on Saturday. I spent a couple of hours chatting with another friend over appetizers because I knew my homework could wait. On my shifts, I pored over story after story and offered the best feedback I could, and I think the stories I read were all the better for time I spent on them. I sat at the city desk past midnight on my Wednesday shift because we were fielding copy from the state legislature’s veto session. And I still made it through my classes the next day in good shape.
I’ve been loving this semester so far, and that’s a fact. I’m just trying to figure out how to find the time to process that.