There are a few major aspects of college that make it distinct. For example, college students generally have a significantly greater amount of free time outside of formal classes to choose our own activities and manage our own time. In my experience, this can be a blessing and a curse—not having a full 7-hour school day five times a week means I’m so much more flexible with my schedule, I’m able to sleep past 5:15 a.m. on weekday mornings, and I’m not already burned out by 11:00 a.m. each day due to over-stimulation and overworking my brain. However, it also means I have a lot of time between classes to accidentally fall asleep until two minutes before my next class starts, procrastinate on an assignment until I’m left trying to cram two hours worth of work into the 40-minute period I have between my Tuesday morning seminar and my Tuesday afternoon art class, and lose track of time lying on my bed while staring at the ceiling and wondering who I am and what I’m going to do with my life.
I don’t know about you, but when I have a lot of free time on my hands, I tend to fall into a rather profound state of existential questioning more often than I’m totally comfortable admitting. I don’t know what it is—maybe it’s my newfound independence as a College Girl making me think too hard about things that really aren’t that deep—but no matter how it comes about, it can sometimes leave me feeling inspired to take control and put myself out there in the world, or it can leave me feeling certain that what I need in that moment is to let go of all my material possessions, cut off all my hair, and live on a farm by the sea for the rest of my life.
So far I’ve been able to snap out of it in time to catch myself before I’m actually convinced that becoming a woodland nymph is the best option for me, but I usually end up making at least one harmless impulsive decision when I go into minor-existential-crisis-mode, and it always ends up bringing my back to my normal senses. By now, I’ve adopted the habit of giving myself a little haircut when I’m feeling overstimulated. It’s reversible since it all grows back eventually, it’s fun, it’s cathartic, it’s exciting, and it consistently makes me feel empowered and renewed. When I think about it now, maybe it’s some kind of metaphor for my college experience so far. College makes me feel spontaneous, inspired to incite change, free, and sometimes a little crazy (in a good way). I’ll never forget that first night of October in my first semester, staying up until 3:00 a.m. and finally reaching for the fabric scissors I’d used earlier that day to cut the hems off a pair of jeans. The act of casually cutting my own hair to my liking for the first time in my life reminded me that I’m in charge of my own life, that I have total authority over what I do with it. College is a perfect place to start owning that. College is a perfect place to feel a little crazy, sit down in front of your mirror, and give yourself a really poorly planned haircut when you should definitely be sleeping.
Of course, everybody has their own ways of dealing with those times throughout our young adult lives when we’re temporarily questioning everything and feeling uncertain or anxious, but if you’re anything like me, you might need some kind of soundtrack to go along with them. With that said, I present to you a list of songs (which I have unapologetically named my Crisis Playlist) that I listen to during periods of sensory overload, restlessness, and general high energy.