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On Making It Work When You Have “No Time”

“How do you have time for that?”

I hear this question several times a week, from people in all aspects of my life. My friends at the newspaper (where I spend about 50 hours a week) ask how I possibly have time for band, and my friends at band (where I spend about 8 hours a week) ask how I possibly have time for the newspaper. My coworkers ask how I have time for work. And my parents ask how I have time for any of that — it’s a vicious cycle.

My answer? I don’t. But I make it work.

I don’t think I’ve ever “had time” for really anything in my life. I’ve always schemed, negotiated and squeezed my time into the most unlikely configurations that somehow fit more responsibilities than any one person should take on. Oh, and did I mention classes?

But before this becomes a post about how many “extra-curriculars” I’ve done, or something equally gag-worthy, I’ll say this: I don’t care for resumes or accolades. I don’t do anything for how it looks. But I do find myself constantly inspired and motivated to pursue many of the opportunities that come my way. If it’s important to me, I’ll find time.

So how do I make it work?

If nothing else, this semester has been a boot camp in time management. Between the lists, calendars and notes that I consult daily, I have nearly every hour of every day scheduled out to make sure it all gets done. Hustle took on a whole new meaning these past few months.

But I think what’s more important than any amount to-do lists is making time to do what you enjoy – to be human. Sounds trite, I know. But when people ask me, “How do you have time to do something like band?” My answer is, how do I not? If did any more work without a few hours of reprieve, I would go crazy. Somewhere within the pressures of school and work, there’s got to be something you do simply because you enjoy it.

Making my life work means scheduling, managing and finishing projects at unusual times (Thanksgiving morning, anyone?) — but it also means having an outlet.

It means playing my heart out with band at Madison Square Garden during the shootout of a Terrier hockey game, then catching a bus back to Boston and getting to work early the next morning after only a few hours of sleep in my own bed.

It means editing stories on my phone during breaks in a performance, or having friends sub for me when I have a photo project to shoot that day.

It means mixing passion with practicality. And it definitely gets messy sometimes. But without the hustle, the craziness and the side projects, I’d be totally bored and uninspired.

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