The Trending Prof

Anita Woods Ph.D., University Educator
Time Not Wasted

Time Not Wasted

So many times I have feared that I have wasted time. But unless I was sleeping the day away, it really wasn’t wasted….it just felt like it at the time. This week, a previous student dropped into my office to share a gift with me, a book entitled “Everything is going to be okay”. Tears sprang into my eyes because this student was so right. And I know that it’s true. Not that life turns out perfect, but rarely does hard work actually result in nothing. I remember slugging through experiments during my PhD and wondering if I was ever going to finish. Or if anyone would actually let me have the degree because I earnestly felt undeserving so many times. Was I wasting my time? No. I learned a lot, but in the thick of graduate work, it often felt like I was spinning my wheels.

Recently, I have felt that way again. But stepping back, although the outcome is not what I expected or hoped…it wasn’t wasted. I have learned a lot, and I believe the learning, even though not a visible product, is still good. Perhaps it was because my mom was such an optimist and that has rubbed off a little on me. I developed list during one of my late night runs:

I am capable of functioning on very little sleep. Less sleep than when I had my two kids. Seriously.

I am better at some skills than I first thought. I sometimes underestimate myself, but in some areas, I have discovered that I really need to stop self-deprecating.

Family and friends are so important, and they are more so when you are a sobbing wreck and you feel bad to be so messy. They love you anyway and that’s pretty amazing.

I am not capable of being lazy, I simply can’t enjoy my free time unless I feel like I’ve earned it by putting in the hard work all other times. So I need to stop fearing that I will become a listless person of leisure.

I love my free time. That free time gets spent with my family and that is my favourite.

I can learn just about anything…well minus physics…I’m sorry. I’ve tried that subject and failed a number of times.

I am too proud of my work to cut corners, even if it means I would be able to sleep more.

Time and a change in perspective can turn a terrible mood. I still need lots more time, but I feel slightly less frustrated than I did a few days ago, so that is good for everyone around me.

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