The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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A portrait of Chancellor Joan Gabel.
Senate Council holds final meeting of semester, recaps recent events
By Anna Kuntz, Senior Staff Writer • May 14, 2024
Column | A thank you to student journalists
By Betul Tuncer, Editor-in-Chief • April 27, 2024

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A portrait of Chancellor Joan Gabel.
Senate Council holds final meeting of semester, recaps recent events
By Anna Kuntz, Senior Staff Writer • May 14, 2024
Column | A thank you to student journalists
By Betul Tuncer, Editor-in-Chief • April 27, 2024

Don’t Be a Stranger | Chasing Time

Don’t Be a Stranger is a biweekly advice column that feels like catching up with a friend over a cup of coffee.
Don%E2%80%99t+Be+a+Stranger+%7C+Chasing+Time
Joy Zhang | Staff Illustrator

Hey stranger,

Raise your hand if you feel like you’re running out of time.

This seems to be a recurring theme with college students — sometimes it feels as if life is just passing us by, everything slipping away faster than we can catch it. We are always fighting the clock, always biting our nails as we watch the sand in that hourglass trickle down, falling and falling. It makes sense that, as students, much of our lives revolve around deadlines. It’s easy to exhaust ourselves, especially when the pressure is beating down on us.

This, of course, can easily tear us away from living in the present. Slowing down may seem impossible — we are too busy ruminating on the past and future to take things one day at a time. So many people I know have said that they feel as though they are watching their life fly by, like they’re running on a treadmill that never stops and only gets faster and faster. We spend all our energy trying to keep up, trying not to fall off.

Doesn’t it seem like we are constantly chasing something? Something more, something else?

Imagine you’re paddling upstream, expending all your energy fighting against the current, all to no avail. It’s like trying to catch your own shadow, or like a dog chasing its own tail. There is no relaxing. 

Take a moment to consider how we are draining ourselves by doing this. We are all victims of living in our own heads from time to time, some of us more than others. But if we are always treating ourselves and our lives like problems that need fixing, we will only throw ourselves into a vicious cycle of fighting against that current. Remember that you aren’t just visiting this world — you’re living in it. Your life was not meant to be a race. 

It’s difficult to prevent yourself from always thinking about what’s coming next. Everyone is always in a hurry. Everyone is wrapped up in asking themselves questions about the future that have no answer. We all do it. I know what it’s like to have that feeling gnaw at me, the voice in the back of my head hissing that I’m not being productive enough, that I’m wasting my time. Losing sleep over the next step, the next plan, next, next, next. By doing this, I’m losing my ability to just be

Of course, it’s beneficial to remind ourselves of our future and our goals that lie ahead, like seeing a mountaintop in the distance while hiking. But what happens while you’re staring at the summit? You forget to appreciate the wildflowers adorning the hills, the breeze against your skin, the beauty that’s encased in the simplest parts of life. By the time you’ve reached the top, there’s another mountain to climb, and you end up unable to settle down and enjoy the present. 

So, let’s make a pact. You and I need to try something different. Let’s put down the imaginary paddle, stop chasing our tails and take a moment to embrace the beauty of the here and now, the luxury of the present moment.

Instead of constantly striving for the next milestone, let’s savor the small victories along the way — the laughter of friends, the warmth of the sun on our skin and the richness of that cup of coffee in the morning. Let’s remind ourselves that life isn’t just about reaching that summit — it’s about enjoying the journey, every twist and turn and every unexpected detour.

And when those thoughts of the future start to creep in, let’s gently guide our minds back to the present. Let’s focus on gratitude for all that we have in this moment, for the people who love us, the experiences that shape us and the opportunity to simply exist. Our lives are rare and should be treated as such.

So, stranger, here’s to slowing down, and here’s to finding peace in the midst of chaos.

Now, let’s talk about you! On my Google form — where you can ask for my advice on anything — I received the following question:

“Is it a good idea to go on vacation in Europe this summer with my girlfriend when I really should be saving money?”

I’m going to start off with complete transparency. I’m the kind of person who is pretty much always going to say that you should spend the money. I’m fully aware that this might not be the most sage advice, but 10 years down the line, won’t you be glad you bit the bullet and booked that flight? 

In the future, you most likely won’t be saying to yourself, “Man, that trip to Europe really burned a hole in my pocket,” you’re just going to recall how wonderful and exciting it was. Sometimes, what’s practical isn’t always what you need. 

Take a chance.