A lack of time is no excuse to get out of commitments

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Graphic by Alan Li

By far, the compliment I most frequently receive is about how many things I do and how I manage to balance them without letting anything else fail.

That, for me, is just my life. I balance a ton of extracurriculars, place a huge emphasis on school and still try to make the people in my life that I love know that I love them. On top of that, throughout my nearly five complete semesters of my undergrad, I have never missed a single class.

How do I manage to do it all? I have my priorities in order. As much as it’s a compliment, it’s a fact. And how do I do it? I avoid one simple phrase.

“I can’t. I don’t have time.”

Here’s a secret. None of us have time. Not a single person has enough time to do anything.

But we do it anyway.  We don’t have time — we make time. What gets done for each person all comes down to our priorities.

If I make a commitment, I’m going to stick to it, no matter how busy my schedule becomes. That’s the thing about being reliable: you have to do it even when it’s not convenient for you. It’s frustrating when people feel differently.

When someone makes a commitment to me, whether that be social outings, part of a group project or any other plans we may have, then drops it at the last minute, it becomes clear to me that our plans together were not a priority to them.

That’s fine. But if I’m not a priority to you, you won’t be a priority to me.  Eventually, we’ll all have to face up to the choices we make to our commitments.

Hitting the clubs the night before a midterm? Hope your memories were worth it. Cancelling plans with friends to study? I hope that’s worth it to you, too.

That’s the thing about being reliable: you have to do it even when it’s not convenient for you. It’s frustrating when people feel differently.

Even when you’re sick, whether mentally or physically, what you do comes down to your priorities. Understandably, your first priority should be your health and that’s why we can justify taking sick days.

Faking sick? That’s a priority too. It shows you’d rather be in bed than going to class or to work.

Our choices will slowly shape our lives. I hope to make the choices that will lead to my goals, not to instant satisfaction. I know a lot of people don’t feel the same way. That’s fine, too. No matter what, something will have to be at the bottom of our line of priorities.

I often don’t place a strong enough emphasis on having fun. Everything has to be contributing to something else and I don’t take enough time just to relax and have a laugh.

I’ve accepted that “fun” is at the bottom of my list. That works for me and it’s what I’m comfortable with. I just don’t make time for it.

Maybe for others that’s class, extracurriculars or even friends and family. To each their own.

However, if you don’t have time for me, I’m not going to make time for you.

We all have busy schedules. We all have too many things going on. But if we really care, we’ll put our commitments and the things and people we love at the very top.

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