What you see here is not a first draft. It is not flawless either, though what I tend to call my last draft still doesn’t often seem perfect to me. I hear what I imagine to be the thoughts of both real and fictitious people in my head. I imagine what they might think of my papers, articles and even verbal comments, and sometimes my thoughts get out of hand.

You’ve probably been through it too. After working (hard or not so much) on a piece of work, you hand it in and agonize over the possible results. It happens with physical performances too, such as in sports, theater, music, and presentations. You’ve been thinking so much about how things are going to turn out. Is all the effort really worth it?

Before thinking about other people’s opinions, I think we ought to ask ourselves: do we think it’s worth it? Do we want that grade, part, job, medal or even just the sheer happiness in knowing that we accomplished what we set out to do? Do we enjoy not just the good results, but the criticisms? Do we find pleasure in doing what is difficult?

Let me clarify that I don’t think we should purposefully do things that are extremely hard for us just because they are hard. I will not, for example, take a science or math class that I’ve heard is tough just because I want to try and enjoy the difficulty of it. While I think that both of these areas are significant in that they give us room to make many new discoveries, I won’t be enrolling in those more difficult classes because they are neither necessary for my Common Curriculum or major requirements, nor for my extracurricular pursuits. I might take a challenging class knowing the nature of it beforehand, but my reasons for taking that class will most likely have little to no relation to its actual difficulty. True, I did enroll in HUMA 1600 knowing that it would be challenging, and I accepted because but I knew it would enrich my studies and help improve my writing. I was correct: I read some fantastic works and improved my writing, all while getting to know some amazing people. Whenever I was working on one of my HUMA papers, I enjoyed myself deep down, even when it got hard.

Sometimes, I still struggle to find pleasure in what’s hard for me. I get caught up in the stress of schoolwork and extracurricular activities, struggling to find a balance. It becomes easy to forget how much enjoyment we can find in what we learn and accomplish, from the smallest to the grandest things. We should enjoy the first draft and the last one. We should relish in our performances, accomplishments, and gifts. The opportunities we have are given to us for a reason. Most great achievements don’t come easily, but why should that be a problem when we can learn so much from working towards these accomplishments? Isn’t that, after all, what a college education is all about? I think so.

You write a new draft every day. Make it count.