I was warned multiple times before starting college to not make too many commitments so as to make the transition from high school to university life easier. I took the message to heart, reminding myself the importance of saying “no” throughout the summer.
Next thing I knew, fall semester arrived, and I basically forgot everything.
Currently, I am a reporter for The Review; participate in QUEST, Blue Hen Leadership Program, and Delaware Diplomats; work an internship; and pursue an Honors course load in order to fulfill credits for 2 majors and a minor.
Oh yeah, and I write for 186 South College.
Some might say I’m doing too much, even amid the present digital circumstances. Perhaps I would be, if I didn’t subscribe to the philosophy of “More Cowbell.”
For the select percentage of readers who have no clue as to the reference I’m making (i.e., if “More Cowbell” doesn’t ring a bell), there exists an SNL gem featuring the legendary likes of Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken that centers on (you guessed it) the emperor of percussion— nay, all—instruments: the almighty cowbell.
In it, Blue Öyster Cult records “Don’t Fear the Reaper” (on the off chance you haven’t heard this song before, kindly climb out from that rock you’ve been living under and give it a listen. Now.) What ensues are multiple debates as to the degree of cowbell the song necessitates.
It’s really easier for you to watch than for me to explain. Here’s a link to the sketch if you haven’t seen it already—and if you already have, give it another watch. You know you want to.
Done? Welcome back! I honestly can’t believe you stayed.
Let’s say, for all intents and purposes of this blog post, that cowbell equates both academic and extracurricular obligations; UD is a recording studio; and my life itself is “Don’t Fear the Reaper.”
Occasionally, when I’m in the recording studio, I find myself needing more cowbell. The cowbell I have just doesn’t cut it, and I have to explore the space of the recording studio and all it has to offer. Whether it’s because I’m not satisfied with the cowbell I currently have, or simply enjoy cowbell for sake of cowbell, more cowbell can make for a better rhythm in “Don’t Fear the Reaper.”
There is a risk, however, of too much cowbell. Cowbell is indeed a wonderful thing, but a surplus of cowbell can completely destroy the overarching beat of “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” It can impact my relationships with others who don’t like cowbell as much as I do, and can interfere with “Don’t Fear the Reaper” outside of the recording studio.
To put it simply, sometimes, I have to tell my internal Christopher Walken to shut up.
There are even times when I don’t want any cowbell, or I’ve had too much cowbell in the span of a day. Sometimes, I’m able to just leave the recording studio, but other times, overdoing cowbell makes it so that I’m stuck in the recording studio for longer than I want to be. It’s not that I don’t love the recording studio; I just don’t want to be there 24/7, and want to be able to enjoy “Don’t Fear the Reaper” outside of it.
As such, I’ve learned the importance of carving out time where no cowbell is present, and to make sure I’m able to leave the recording studio at the end of the day. By finding a nice balance of cowbell, I’m able to keep in the overall rhythm of “Don’t Fear the Reaper.”
In doing so, I have reached my optimal cowbell. Although, like any college student, I occasionally get overwhelmed by cowbell, I believe the cowbell I’m working with in the recording studio is a good fit for “Don’t Fear the Reaper.”
Like recording a flawless track, finding a balance between academics, extracurriculars, and personal life is no easy task. It’s a process of trial and error, necessitating bravery to step outside your comfort zone and self-discipline to pull back when you’ve reached your limit. Sometimes, you need to record a few tracks before settling on the one that’ll be pressed on the A-side of your gold record.
Indeed, there exists a unique, ideal level of cowbell for everyone. We march to the beat of our own cowbell. For some, enough cowbell is never enough cowbell. For others, a little cowbell is ok. And for a handful of people, no cowbell is perfect, or they take their cowbell day-by-day.
College seems to be one of the best times to unearth the cowbell that’s right for you, and I like to think I already have.
But maybe, just maybe, down the road, I’ll find myself needing more cowbell.
Image source: https://www.google.com/imgres
- My Virtual International Internship by Lauren Mottel - March 2, 2021
- “A Breath of Fresh Air” by Lauren Wrightstone - February 16, 2021
- “The Philosophy of More Cowbell” by Nadya Ellerhorst - December 8, 2020