by Natalie Murray
People frequently incite debates with the question, “pancakes or waffles?” For many, this is a difficult choice; for me, it’s always pancakes. As much as I love waffles, pancakes are my go-to comfort food. And even though they’re easy to make, sometimes my pancake cravings are too immediate for me to make batter, heat up a griddle, and flip batch after batch of pancakes before finally eating them. Thankfully, my incessant need for pancakes combined with my lack of patience have led me to find an easy way to get my pancake fix: microwavable pancake bowls.
To make them, I simply get a medium-sized bowl, make a small portion of pancake batter in that bowl, and stick it in the microwave for two to three minutes, or until it’s cooked. Naturally, cooking pancakes in the microwave has some drawbacks: you don’t get the crispy brown exterior that you get from a regular pancake, so you’re left with a very uniform texture.
Plus, since the bowl “pancakes” are very thick, they tend to be dry, and require copious amounts of butter and syrup. Still, it’s a great trade-off when you’re in the mood for pancakes but not for the time and effort it takes to cook them and then clean up afterwards. This tale makes a perfect analogy for my newly acquired attitude towards schoolwork. As a proud overachiever, I used to be so invested in my homework and assignments that I really didn’t care about or put much effort into other things. My priority was always grades—which in itself is not a bad thing, but the amount of time, sleep, and mental stability that I sacrificed so I could have straight A’s just doesn’t seem worth it to me anymore. I find myself wishing that I’d made more metaphorical microwaved pancakes. What I mean is that I wish I had settled for a low A, a B, or maybe an occasional C.
Instead of putting 100% of my effort into a single homework assignment, wasting valuable time that I could’ve spent completing other assignments or eating or sleeping or exercising or socializing, I should have allowed myself to make a few microwave pancakes. Though I would have sacrificed a slightly higher grade and perhaps my full understanding of a subject, I would have earned valuable time for myself to relax or maybe just complete other homework that I initially would have passed over to complete a different assignment.
I think it’s important to clarify that I don’t wish I’d been a complete slacker; after all, making microwave pancakes still requires proper measurements, time, and effort—just not as much. So a homework that I put pancake effort into is an “A” assignment, but a microwave pancake would only be a “B.” Basically, I wish I hadn’t put so much pressure on myself to be perfect, to put 110% into every single assignment when I still could have gotten an A or B with only 80-90% effort. But I can’t change what I did in high school. You, however, can. Maybe you’re like I was, and you push yourself way too hard and stay up past 2 AM every night and join too many clubs and spread yourself way too thin. Take some time to make microwaved pancakes.
Figure out which assignments you don’t have to put 110% into, and allow yourself to slack just a little bit. Like me, you may feel bad that you’re not pushing yourself as hard as you usually do – but you have to remember that it’s because you’re taking care of yourself. Your mental and physical health are more important than your report card, so if you’re literally making yourself sick so that you can finish one worksheet or outline, try to relax a bit. If you don’t learn to bend, you will break, and if microwaved pancakes are how you can avoid breaking, then start cooking.