by Emily Dimitosh, PLA Team Leader
I had to get rid of the Mary Poppins bag. It was just. too. stressful.
See, the problem with my bag, was that it could fit a lot. Generally, you’d think this would be a good trait in a bag. The problem was, because it was so big, because it had so much capacity, it could get really heavy, really fast. My bag was a “laptop” bag, which begged for me to fill it with my laptop, when I really don’t need to be lugging 5 lbs from Goodes to BioSci for two classes that I take notes in better by hand anyway. I’d also throw water bottles, running shoes, and gym clothes in so that I wouldn’t’ have to go home to change for the gym after class. It was killing my shoulder, and taking out way to many pedestrians in the process! And no matter how many times I told myself that it was helping me build muscle, it was really just building up my need for an Advil to ease my upper back pain.
The other problem with my bag was that because I was throwing so much stuff in it, sometimes I couldn’t actually find what I was looking for. A friend asked me for something as simple as a phone number yesterday, and I had to say no because I dreaded the thought of having to root through my Mary Poppins Special to find my phone, let alone a pen and paper.
This reminded me of scheduling. At first, we think it’s good to make lots of time available for extracurriculars – to have a really big bag. We think that it will help us build resume muscle, and will be beneficial by saving us time because it can carry so much. But sometimes, in jamming too much into our bags or schedules, we actually cause more pain for ourselves than the gain we get from resume building. It can become painful to have to lug so many commitments around with us all the time! And sometimes smaller things like pens, and cell-phones, or friendships and healthy living habits, can get lost.
So here’s a plea to carefully consider the size of both the actual and metaphorical bag you are carrying around with you all day. How big does it really need to be to strike the careful balance between utility, and having enough time to find your favourite candy in the side pocket?