Lately I’ve developed this weird thing where I only drink my Rott (dining hall) coffee out of a yellow mug. (Yes, that indecisive mug that can’t decide if it’s mimicking the brown of Dijon mustard or the gold of a faded Olympic medal, any Rott-goer knows the one.)There’s something so wonderful about a routine. Of knowing with confidence what you’ll do that day, who you’ll be with, where you’ll eat, where you’ll do your homework. Routine provides at least a simple structure for the unknowns of any given day to fall into.
As a first-year last year, I felt like routine was something I lacked tremendously. Each day seemed so drastically different from the last that I didn’t know what I could count on anymore. I sought routine in my life because it was the only thing that could organize the craziness around me. This year, however, I find myself seeking less of a routine. As college becomes more familiar and the newness of dorm life fades rapidly, I need fluidity and change much more than structure. That lack of safety within a guaranteed schedule somehow makes life feel more randomly enjoyable.
But is it healthy to be stuck on one extreme or the other, I wonder? It seems like there has to be some sort of a structured-lenience, or a lenient-structure; a middle ground where we can be comfortable but still be pushed.
On campus I’ve noticed this need for balance as we reach that point of the semester where it’s easy to “give up” pro-active socialization because we now feel comfortable. In that regard, routine is becoming more routine. On the other hand, I still recognize places that could use more routine. Particularly as SSTers return in a month and new SSTers leave, there are people in our community that will be adjusting to new routines and will need our support as they move through that.
A balance of structure and non-structure would push us to find outlets that bring us comfort yet still seek ones that provide new opportunities. Whether it’s purposefully choosing a yellow mug every meal or even purposefully choosing a different color every meal, the equilibrium between change and comfort has to be found somewhere.