I know everybody says this, but I feel like A-Day has been on the decline since my first one in 2012. In fact, it feels that way for most school events. The Hill just isn’t as full anymore. The chants just aren’t as loud anymore. The boys just aren’t as rowdy anymore. Maybe that’s got something to do with becoming an older student, and even if only slightly, a bigger one too. Could it be that the same presence of cheer just doesn’t feel as big all these years later? I hoped so, but I had a conversation with another IB2 that made me think there’s some reason behind my observation:
UCC students fall victim to the perpetual cycle of being “too busy.” For most, there seems to be a million things to do and not enough time in a day to get everything done. Naturally for a hyper-achievement climate like ours, the task that always gets relegated is self-care.
Self-care comes in the form of a good night’s sleep every night (lol), eating breakfast, taking study breaks, getting exercise, and a host of other things we’re told to do every day by at least one assembly speaker each year. I would argue that the most important form of self-care is playtime. There is something to be said for taking a few hours every so often to forget about everything. Healthy escapism exists: it’s not stress denial, it’s stress control. It’s those few hours that remind us that it is possible to have fun. That reminder is so incredibly important for the maintenance of our mental health, and it’s a criminally undervalued one.
The lion’s share of student time at the College goes to academics. That’s okay, but there is a distinction that not all students make before it’s too late: it is encouraged that you immerse yourself in the scholastic challenge here at UCC, but you cannot let it consume you. Immersion is when you are interested in your course material, and work diligently to understand concepts and do well in your classes. Consumption is when it becomes a mental burden and source of anxiety that you use as an excuse to not be present in your life. All the old boys who come back and visit tell us the same thing: it’s not the hell weeks endured or the 7s achieved that stick out when you assess your time spent here, it’s the community that we have a chance to experience. It is, to put it colloquially, the time spent with the boys. That time is seldom more memorable than at the community events of all types that we are lucky enough to have every year.
UCC’s calling card might be its academics, but make no mistake: the school only works because it is a community that we all have a chance to be a part of. That community is grown in both size and strength when spirits are high – Pride in Blue if you will.
So this is a plea, for your sake and for ours, to consider finding that time to experience adolescence outside of a textbook. This is a community you will not regret immersing yourself in. Nobody is to cool to get up and join in on that “Go Blues Go” chant. And I promise, you are never, ever too busy either.