Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Experiential Learning is Exhausting, But In A Good Way

It's only Tuesday. I feel like I should be in the midst of a second Project Week, not just the second day of the week. But it's only Tuesday! How can I be this tired? Maybe it has something to do with a not-so-great-at-sleeping two year old, but my sleep functions have been calibrated to ignore that background noise for a while now. I think it has more to do with the fact that experiential learning is exhausting! Not the pulling an all-nighter while cramming for a test exhausting, although I do realize the irony of the timestamp at the bottom of this post. Rather, it's an exhaustion that comes from being turned on and tuned in for an entire day. It's an exhaustion that comes after spending a day focusing on a singular purpose. It's an exhaustion of satisfaction knowing that I have not wasted a day, but rather I have done something productive and worthwhile with my energy and time.

I know our students, faculty, and staff are feeling that exhaustion right now, too. I hear it from project leaders as groups return to campus each afternoon. I hear it from students as I read the blog posts each night. How many other days are our students begging to go to bed? And this thrills me! I'm excited because everyone's exhaustion means that we are fully engaging each day. We are using our minds and our muscles in the pursuit of learning, service, and creating. We are trying new things and stepping out of our comfort zones.

There is a danger, though, that we will let our exhaustion take over, that it will become our focus and our excuse instead of just a by-product of our output. Tuesday is over, and we have a choice to make. Will we let our excitement, purpose, and curiosity fade as we begin to think of the restful Spring Break looming on the horizon, or will we soldier on and continue to be inquisitive, thoughtful, and creative, all the while pushing the exhaustion to where it belongs, which is the end of each day?

It's only Tuesday.

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