It is hard to remember when you are up to your ears in hungry alligators that your priority should be to drain the swamp. But what is the alternative? Using all your attention and energy just to fight off the alligators can only last for a limited time.
Or maybe you’ve been in the swamp for so long that you have forgotten that the swamp actually has a plug, or where it can be found? If you have always been in an HEI environment as an adult: either as a student or teacher/staff member, it’s possible that you don’t even realise that a plug exists – and that you think the only solution is to get out of the swamp as soon as you can – if you can!
There is no such thing as having no choice. Even if you have to stay up all night to complete a deadline, there is always a choice, both in that moment, and probably in many moments previous to that, when you chose to either give other things priority or when you chose to sign up to the assignment.
It is healthy to frequently review and to recommit to your choices. This includes reminding yourself why you are doing what you are doing, and to recognise that both you and the situation can change. The more you can relate what you are doing to a higher purpose, to a greater and common good, the more inner strength and resilience can be found to persevere and to get it done no matter what. If what you are doing is because you think there is no option, then reframe it so that it becomes meaningful. At the very least, alligators can catalyse you into strategies for understanding and managing yourself, to develop better relationships and how to make better decisions in the future.