“Learning to Cross the Bridge” by Nadya Ellerhorst

“I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.”

I’d always seen this adage as a humorous brush-off for a particularly stressful situation or a blatant excuse to put off some pressing matter. But as we progress deeper into the spring semester, I’ve come to understand that this maxim isn’t about procrastination; it’s actually an incredibly useful mindset to maintain when going about your college days. 

We’ve all been there: you’ve got so many tabs open on your computer that you run the risk of crashing the entire eduroam network. You set down your phone for a minute or two, only to pick it up again and see you’ve gotten upwards of 20 emails. The convenient ability of professors to publish every single due date on Canvas is simultaneously super helpful and the stuff of nightmares as your planner grows all the more incoherent with scribbled to-do’s and reminders.

Having fallen victim to such predicaments quite frequently as of late, I’ve recently started trying to take things as they come – to learn how to cross the bridge when I get to it, the bridge being whatever assignment, RSO task, chore, 186 South College blog post, or other relevant matter on my agenda.

It hasn’t been easy (writing a blog post about something easy wouldn’t be very fun, anyway), but I’ve found that it’s proved indispensable in helping me keep it all together.

Take my planner, for instance. I used to fill that thing out with gusto, listing each and every due date, meeting, appointment – basically, if it could be distinguished by date and time, chances are it was in there written in neon pink. I realized, however, that while this certainly kept me informed of everything I needed to attend to, it was simultaneously overwhelming to have everything on my radar, especially as some of the tasks and commitments weren’t necessarily pertinent on a given day. 

Unsurprisingly, completely ignoring our obligations isn’t the most effective method, either. I’ve therefore taken advantage of the magic of monthly and weekly planner formats. In the month-at-a-glance section of my planner, I include everything on my agenda as it comes, as well as notes of encouragement and sparkly stickers, because why not? However, I’ve begun to fill out the weekly pages one day at a time (the stickers are still there). This lets me efficiently take it day-by-day while having the monthly view serve as a gentle reminder of what else requires my attention.

In other words, it’s good for me to know when a final project is due. I don’t necessarily need to be thinking about it every single day for three months. 

Sometimes we get so caught up in anticipating our bridges that we completely lose sight of the scenery rolling by. At other times we feel as though our emotions need to mirror the character of the situation at hand; if we’ve got papers and projects galore, it can seem that we’re obligated to stress for the sake of stressing. It’s the anticipation, the dread even, that can exhaust us to the point where we can’t do our best work – where we spend more time worrying than just doing.

That’s not to say you should disregard a bridge entirely. It can still remain visible on your GPS, but why worry about it when it’s still miles away? You’re headed towards it, and you know where you’re going. That’s plenty enough. 

There’s all types of bridges — long bridges, short bridges, covered bridges, suspension bridges, bridges you can get out and walk on, bridges with multiple lanes of traffic – and each demands something special from us. Worrying about them makes it so that we may cross the bridge in panic, veer off, or miss the bridge entirely. Taking things as they come allows us to be prepared for whatever bridge necessitates crossing. 

Sure, the road to that bridge may be as challenging as Main Street during rush hour (or, who am I kidding, at any time of day), but rest assured, it gets easier as you keep going – after all, there’s only one way but forward.

As Honors students, and a student body as a whole, sometimes I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit for everything we do. Remember: you chose this path and you are choosing to stick with it, even when the road gets rocky or your GPS gets wacky, even when you’re not entirely certain of the bridge that lies ahead. 

So cross that bridge when you get to it. Once you do, pause for a second and take in the view, and don’t be afraid to look down. After all, it’s your hard work that keeps you safe, secure, confident, and poised to conquer the many bridges in your future. 

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1 Comment

  1. Nice post, Nadya! Remember, crossing a bridge to somewhere is always better than crossing a bridge to nowhere.

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