sweet spot


Around this time many years ago, my parents packed up their car with all my worldly belongings and we drove northwest to move me into my dorm and register me for fall classes at Texas A&M University, my new home for the next 4 years.  I remember sitting with them in the office of my advisor in the Civil Engineering Department, trying to figure out what classes I needed to take for my first semester, and feeling very overwhelmed.

"Let's start you off with 15 credit hours," he was saying.

"Oookay ...." I hesitated.  "Is that a lot?"

"That's pretty much an average amount," he assured me.  "It's not a light load, but it's not too heavy of one, either.  Twelve credit hours a semester is the minimum required to be a full-time student.  Eighteen credit hours is seriously full, and I don't recommend ever doing that many unless you have to -- and certainly not your very first semester in college."

So I signed up for 15 credit hours, and off I went.  And I did the same thing the following semester, and the semester after that.  Until one day, I realized that even though I was going at a pretty good clip through my curriculum, I wasn't going to graduate in 4 years unless I picked up the pace even more.

The following semester, I signed up for 19 credit hours.

At the beginning of the semester I was truly terrified:  I had no idea how I was going to manage to stay on top of 19 hours, when fifteen previously felt like a full plate.  But, as they say, out of great terror comes great organization (or something like that), so I made lists, and filled out calendars, and tackled everything methodically ... and ended up receiving the best grades of my college career that semester.  It was amazing:  there was something about having no choice but meet everything head on that made me incredibly efficient.  I wouldn't have dared attempt more than 19 credit hours (nor did I ever sign up for that many again), but there was something about being beautifully busy that made me incredibly productive.  Nineteen hours was, apparently, my sweet spot.

Summer vacation is over for me this week:  I begin crazy travel and a busy schedule again starting on Wednesday, and it really doesn't let up until November; and potentially, not until Christmas.  I'm a little terrified, but I'm also pretty exhilarated.  

I'm hoping that I'm hitting a sweet spot.

Happy Monday, friends.


Soundtrack:  I can't go for that, as performed by Cee Lo Green and Daryl Hall.  Because this is a great way to start your week, trust me.