I eavesdrop constantly for overheards. You’re probably thinking this makes me really creepy — and you’d probably be right. But one morning, as I hurried to class in Huntsman, I overheard something that made me think:
Tall suited–up Wharton boy: It’s been a while! Have you been doing good? Comparatively tiny Wharton girl: Yeah! I’ve been really busy, so I’m happy.
Yes, I know you were expecting that to be funny, but chill for a minute; I don’t always have to make you laugh. I thought about this conversation well into the first few minutes of my class — I’d do anything to distract myself from marketing and I’d had enough of doodling my name — but something about it really stuck with me. That little Wharton chick associated being busy with being happy, as if taking it easy was an immediate cause to be depressed.
The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that this is something that permeates our campus culture. As Penn students, we associate packed schedules with feeling fulfilled, and this association leaves us with the idea that to be happy with our lives, we must do a million and one things to become as busy as possible.
This school of thought goes far beyond Wharton. Although I’m in the College, I’m no exception to this rule. I’m my sorority’s social chair, a Street editor and enrolled in five classes, and I was still upset about the fact that I couldn’t find an internship to fill my heaps of free time. I thought a full schedule would make me happy, but I already have daily semi–breakdowns due to stress and rely on my planner like it’s a bodily organ.
So, we’re all victims of the theory that busy equals happy, but why? Maybe it’s part of our basic Penn student nature. We’ve been multi–tasking all our lives, so it’s a mere continuation of the habits we’ve been developing for years. But maybe it’s something more than that. We were all the best and brightest at our high schools, but being smart is no longer enough. You got an A in MATH–114? Congrats, so did like half the school. In order to differentiate ourselves from the mass amounts of people with brains and talent, we pick up as many activities as possible to break away from the pack.
There’s nothing wrong with this instinct; some would call it Penn survival of the fittest. Yet I’ve creeped on this campus enough to know that it’s full of amazing, brilliant kids who deserve a break every once in a while. Granted, lazy doesn’t equal happy either, but a little bit of it never killed anyone. However, if you’re gonna have some spectacular public breakdown, do it when I’m around. God knows I love a good overheard.