Going into this year, I thought I was going to be this super crazy productive person who was active in 5 clubs and exercised every day and read all these books and maybe even relearned guitar. This is not the case. My major takes up so much of my life that I am rarely able to make it to the one club I am involved in, let alone 5. I think I’ve read one book this year and my guitar is still sitting at home. A 2 credit hour class requires about 10 hours of outside work, so I am not exaggerating when I say my major is my life. This means that most of my time is spent doing homework, writing papers, and studying (yeah I know all you grown-ups reading this are super pleased to hear that).
This past Sunday, I was looking at my schedule for the week and doing a little victory dance because for the first time in a VERY long time, I didn’t have 5,000 things due that counted for a huge chunk of my grade. Then I got The Email. The Email was from my professor who teaches my 2 credit hour class (you know, the one that I have to kill a sacrificial lamb for every week) and he decided that the labs and quizzes and prelabs and writeups due every week simply weren’t keeping us busy enough. With me, stress doesn’t come like a nice Sunday rain shower that starts out as a drizzle and turns into the perfect nap white noise; with me, stress hits like a thunderstorm in Missouri, which (those of you that live here probably understand) happens when you are least expecting it and you don’t have an umbrella or rain boots and soaks you in 3 seconds flat. It’s fantastic.
So in typical Monday fashion, I’m sitting at my desk trying to power through all this work due for all my classes when the thunderstorm hit. I was defenseless. A few weeks ago, my stress got so bad that it made me physically ill in a way, so I’ve been trying to really keep down my stress levels. Turns out that’s really tough to do, but for some reason John Mayer helps. A lot.
Any time I’m thinking straight when I become overcome with stress, I play Bigger Than My Body on loop. For those who don’t listen to John Mayer at least 5x a day, the lyrics go,
“Yes, I’m grounded
Got my wings clipped
I’m surrounded by
All this pavement
Guess I’ll circle
While I’m waiting
For my fuse to dry
Someday I’ll fly
Someday I’ll soar
Someday I’ll be so damn much more
Cause I’m bigger than my body gives me credit for.”
In college, you’re told that you can be anything and do anything and strive for anything, as long as you still fit inside a box. Sure, you can do all of those things, but you must to do really well on every test and write perfect papers every time and have tons of friends and be super involved and be really healthy but have a good time and look pretty but not like you’re trying and don’t ever sleep because sleep means you’re being unproductive. It’s exhausting. It’s not encouraging. And some days, it pushes me to the point where I think there is no way I can be everything and do everything that my classes and I ask of myself. That is why this song helps so much; I’ve been told all my life that some day I can do and be anything, but right now I’ve just got to get through this. These lyrics are the biggest and most perfect reminder that this little speck of nothing that my professors see me as is not what I will be forever; someday I’ll fly and soar and be so damn much more, but right now my wings have been clipped and are slowly being built back up. It’s really easy to forget that my worth does not reside on what grades I get or how perfect my papers are because I am so much more than my grades. I’m more than my grades and I’m more than just a student and I’m more than whatever label is trying to be put on that box. I am way bigger than my body gives me credit for (but don’t worry guys I still care about my grades a ton so don’t freak out).