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By Harry Pearse

Life. It always has something, just around the corner, ready to smack you in the face. A very unexpected and random smack in the face, I must add. You’ll be having a great time, starting the semester excellently and generally feeling pretty good. Then BANG! Life goes, “oh no you don’t!” And it doesn’t just hit you with one curveball; it will throw dozens at a time.

Photo by Harry Pearse Graduate MBA student, Sebastian Baxter, takes columnist Harry Pearse's tips seriously. Here seen jotting down a list of things he can control.
Photo by Harry Pearse
Graduate MBA student, Sebastian Baxter, takes columnist Harry Pearse’s tips seriously. Here seen jotting down a list of things he can control.

Life threw me a few Mike Tyson punches during the last couple of weeks. It was just as the ECC playoffs were about to start and during midterms week. As a student-athlete, simultaneous playoffs and midterms are among the things you just have to be able to deal with. On the other hand, what wasn’t in the job description and doesn’t spring to mind when you sign the dotted line to serve the GREENlands of Pioneer country, is all the other things that arose during that busy time.

For me, last week, I had to say hello and then goodbye to my fantastic father and unbelievably brilliant uncle. I then had the complete realization, on the men’s soccer senior day, that my best friends, who I have lived everyday with for the last three years, but who are a year ahead of me, are graduating. And as each one of them ran through the tunnel onto the field after their names were recognized, I couldn’t help but feel the imminence of them all leaving me. “There’s one best friend gone, oh there’s another, and another…” This carried on for what felt like an eternity.

On top of these impeccably timed disasters, by Life of course, I had bad news from home, and the old madness of Love was, once again, giving me feelings like “pulsations of an artery,” as Plato once described. This was completely and emotionally overwhelming, daunting. It felt like I had five or six huge things to deal with all at once! “What the bloody hell do I do?” I asked myself.

A wise man once told me, “Deal with the things you CAN control. And with the things you cannot control, don’t sweat them; you obviously cannot do anything about them.” These were the wise and guru-esque words of my father: a person who always comes to my rescue.

If we all look at what he said, it makes so much sense, right? I cannot control problems at home in England, I can’t control or stop my friends from graduating and moving on with the next stage in their lives, and why should I look at my father and uncle visiting in a negative manner, just because they had to leave? I need to take the positives, and treasure the memories I had with them in the short time that they were here.

However, I can control how I perform in practice and in soccer games; that’s in my hands, how I focus, how I prepare. I can also control the outcome of my midterms and academics. I need to make sure I study adequately, and although we all sometimes feel that we have so much on our plate, if we eliminate the things that we can’t control, then maybe the things that are dependent on US to deal with, won’t seem so daunting after all.

The elimination of the uncontrolled, and LIFE-like problems which each one of us experiences, could provide us all with a lot more clarity. It will also allow us to differentiate, later on in our lives, what is important to stress over and maybe what we don’t have to kill ourselves with.

Next time you feel that ever so frightening and formidable scare of everything hitting you at once, try to think, what can I control? And what is out of my hands? If you have to write this down, do it. I truly believe it will help all of us to calm down, and think logically about our next course of action, rather than allowing it to affect everything we do on a day-to-day basis.

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