The second in a series of "professor's pearls" for college students
“Fun I love, but too much fun is of all things
the most loathsome.”
- William Blake
You are at such a fabulous time in your life. You are young, energized, creative and freespirited. I’m a big believer in enjoying life to the fullest. But, too much “fun” can mean trouble. It can lead to poor choices and unfortunate situations. If you think it might be bad idea, it probably is. Is it really worth the risk? Remember the “10 Factor”…how will this choice possibly affect you 10 minutes from now, 10 hours from now, 10 days from now and 10 years from now? You have a moral compass…don’t ignore it or your intuition.
How well I can remember the countless hours I spent with friends having ridiculous amounts of fun. Just to be clear, "fun" for me equated to talking for hours on end over coffee, seeing a show at Fitzgerald's, taking a road trip with the appropriate home made mixed tape, being completely crazy spontaneous and hysterical laughing until I cried. Good times... (insert nostalgic sigh here).
Aside from the fact that you should be having it, there is one very important characteristic about fun that you must realize. Very simply, having fun is a choice. In the same way that boredom is a choice, you ultimately decide if something will be fun or not. Regardless of the situation, location or circumstance, if you want to have fun, you can make it fun. It's totally up to you.
Back in my college days, I went on a field biology trip to Big Thicket National Preserve to study the surrounding biotic province (if that's not fun, I don't know what is!). Although it was a field trip, it was also a 1-hour credit course in biology which meant busy work! Dr. Larry Meissner, professor and field guide extraordinaire meant business. I am not kidding...this man could see a pile of dirt on a log and know exactly what is was, how it got there and precisely how it tied into the circle of life...seriously, he's a walking encyclopedia. Each of us had to keep a detailed scientific field journal that included a comprehensive species list complete with genus-species names, daily journaling about various biological observations, hypotheses, sketches, etc... It was an incredible amount of work and certainly a bit stressful since our course grade was riding on the final product of our field journals.
To add insult to injury, Big Thicket National Preserve was in the midst of an epic mosquito outbreak that year. Literally, the air was thick with blood-thirsty mosquitoes that made outdoor camping a most unbearable experience. It was miserable...we were miserable as our bodies became riddled with swollen red welts. There was simply no escaping the misery. And, misery loves company.
As we sat on the shore of the beach that night, we whined and complained incessantly. There was no field journaling happening and sleep was certainly not in the near future. From out of nowhere, fellow field biologist Aaron Goeke started rattling off crazy talk about his life dream of becoming a renowned "marine proctologist". No doubt this was crazy talk... ridiculous hilarious crazy talk!! We went on to discuss the field of "marine proctology" at great length and in great detail. By dawn we had created several sub-disciplines and a comprehensive academic association complete with delineated acronym for the field of "marine proctology". I must say, it was quite a contribution to the discipline.
Ridiculous and absurd? Yes. Immature & inappropriate? Most likely. Hands down one of the most memorable of all college experiences? Absolutely! As I cried with laughter that night, I somehow forgot about the miserable circumstances that were in our midst. For the next several days I suffered severe abdominal pains from the repeated motion of doubling-over with laughter throughout the night. The pain was well worth it in the end & poor Dr. Meissner had to put up with me for several more field experiences.
My point is this...you can make any situation and/or circumstance fun if you simply make the decision to do so. "Fun" is intrinsically generated. Take ownership of your fun by deciding to have plenty of it in a thoughtful and responsible manner. Although it was tempting to "talk proctology" for the duration of the 6 hour drive back to campus, moderation was exercised given we were terribly behind in our field journaling responsibilities. Balance paid off...I made a "B" in the class (which is awesome since I'm no field biologist!). - PCD