This semester, more than any other, I feel as though school is happening to me.

Classes swirl around me. The only things I remember are lessons, rehearsals, and music. I go to my classes, but I don't really remember anything about them.

It's like a veil is over my eyes. I feel slow, like I cannot possibly keep up.

I'm oddly okay with it.

I've spent so much of my life being Type A. I'm still Type A -- but I feel less of a need to act like it.

It's not really my identity, is it? I say that as a declarative statement, with the end of the sentence turned down towards the punctuation. I used to ask it to God, as a question: Father, can this really be identity?

He whispered back: a firm, calming No, darling.

I find myself being a little less productive. I'm not chasing my tail so much anymore, not hounding myself. I'm not hot on the heels of productivity and efficiency.

Is part of this due to a bad case of senioritis? Of course.

But for now, I'm not chasing the idea of the perfect student.

You know what's happening instead.

Connection.

I was late for my workout yesterday -- but I got to have a cheerful conversation with my roommate.

During an unprecedented lunch break this week, I could not, for the love of God, bring myself to be productive in any way. Instead, I got to hang out with a few friends and chat with one of my favorite castmates. It wasn't profound. It was actually kind of silly. The trajectory of the world didn't shift.

But I got a little brighter.

I remembered I was bold and radiant.

And those are the parts of my day I remember. Not how efficiently I studied, nor how well I worked through lunch.

I remember how much I adore my cast and my choir.

I remember how my friend made me laugh: loudly, unashamedly.

I remember sweet little occurrences and incidents that bring brightness to my day. I remember how I've always struggled with friendships with guys, and here, now, God has given me the gift of some of my favorite friendships being formed with the men around me.

So, yeah, I feel a little behind and a little harried and a little less than perfect.

But I'm learning that the ability to stop, look around, and simply breathe is a skill more valuable than I have thought.

Valuable connections trumps productivity, every time.

It also beats perfection. Every time.

May we not try to hard. May we be okay with that. May we live with the gentle reminder that we don't have to be on top of it. May we hold this knowledge in our hands -- feel it, smell it, taste it. May it save our lives.

May we choose to connect instead of strive.

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