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The following article was submitted in partnership with the COM X program which gives students in Communications Studies the opportunity to work as an intern at The Baron.

What are we all doing here?

Wolfgang Düchtel/The Baron

Really, what are we doing? I know the easy answer is getting an education, but for what purpose?

Because we need one, don’t we? We have to get one, right?

I would say yes, and that there is nothing wasted about our time here at UNB Saint John, regardless of your major. I would say that higher education is an absolute privilege and will significantly improve your life, but . . . what are we doing?

Perhaps, if I want to elicit a better response, I need to change the question of what to a question of why? Why are you here? Are you here because of your family’s expectations of you? Are you here in hopes of getting a great-paying job one day? Are you studying something you love? Why are you here?

These, along with many more, are questions I have asked myself many times. I have found myself sitting in a lecture hall, looking around, wondering what are all these people doing here? I am genuinely curious about each individual story; we’ve all got one.

Or, for instance, when I’m up to my eyeballs in Greek mythology at 8:30 a.m., and I ask myself, ‘what are you doing here, John?’ 

I would encourage everyone to ask these questions of themselves. Your time is one of the most precious things you have, and to give it away without asking yourself the question of why would be a hapless journey indeed.

You are here, making a huge investment in yourself; you should, at the very least, consider the purpose of your presence, even if you don’t have the answer yet. 

Wolfgang Düchtel/The Baron

Maybe, you already have it all figured out. Maybe UNB Saint John is just a nice place to wait, while you are searching for an answer. I don’t think either of those options is bad, the question of why is a big, often intimidating one. It is a very personal thing to consider and, naturally, different for everyone.

We aren’t born knowing, but if we don’t ask the question, how can we even attempt to answer it? Maybe we are letting society, or possibly even worse, somebody else, answer it for us. After all, it is very easy to think that allowing someone else to answer our contemplation of why would be much easier.

What I am trying to say is: you should avoid the monotonous routine of everyday living, without any introspection or self-reflection. Not taking the time, or should I say making the time, to examine those big questions in our lives. I think that would be a deeply regretful way to go through school and life. 

When was the last time you were completely alone with your thoughts? When was the last time you let yourself be bored or walked the dog without headphones on? The world we are living in has us too busy and too distracted to stop and ask any questions.

Wolfgang Düchtel/The Baron

After all, questions are hard, especially the big ones, I, of all people, get it! I am as guilty as the next person for grabbing my phone and scrolling while waiting in line or waiting for class. Maybe just a quick peek to see what that little notification vibration was while in class. We have so many distractions, and we keep ourselves so busy that we often forget our purpose.

Life is busy. School work requires a lot of our attention. Not to mention having a social life and/or a part time job, family events, sports and on and on . . . we all know this is the reality of living. But there is no better time than right now, to learn how to take time for yourself.

After all, how can you ever have the time to focus on yourself if you never actually take the time? This is something that we will have to train ourselves to do and it requires practice, a good start could be blocking out 30 minutes in your schedule each week for some time to yourself. Or maybe setting a reminder on your phone to pause and refocus.

However you decide to do it, take a few minutes, turn all the outside noise off and ask yourself these questions. I am sure you’ll be happy you did.