Marginalia, Graduate Blog

Emotional Intelligence

Brian Miles

What is the one piece of advice you would give to a young person entering college? For me, the answer comes quickly: the most emotionally intelligent people are going to be the ones who succeed in school much more than the students who are naturally more or less intellectual. College is the first time a lot of people are really independent, and the result can be a huge challenge not just intellectually, but in managing the ups and downs of life. It’s very easy to let things spiral out of control, and those who keep it together and stay diligent will pull ahead.

This is especially true for people who are creative and more prone to fixating on things or letting their imagination get the best of them in an unproductive way. Therefore, I think that advice would also hold true for someone entering graduate school or really anything that isn’t totally structured: in case you didn’t get the memo the first time around, those who are emotionally intelligent will be the ones who succeed.

The times where we let our emotions get the best of us are often the times we regret the most, whether that be nerves, disappointment, or whatever. This has been on my mind lately as I’ve had a pretty disappointing few weeks, and I haven’t really handled it as well as I could have. I’ve let my writing slip. I want to read more and not necessarily the stuff I’m “supposed” to be reading. I get things done right at the deadline and sometimes let it slip a little past, because I’m just so frustrated with myself and have left myself such a mountain that makes me even more frustrated. It spirals down, and then I have to bottom out before I have the guts to get moving again.

Maybe you get angry. Maybe you start to project it out onto others, so you get overly frustrated with people guilty of the same as you. I think many people have had this experience.

All this is to simply give a friendly reminder about the importance of keeping an even keel in what can feel like relatively little structure compared to a 9 to 5 job or the like. It’s easy to let things slip. My suggestion is make a schedule and test your discipline to keep it. Write at a specific time of day, etc. Get your stuff done early. I don’t always take my own advice, but I do know this is good.

Emotional Intelligence

What is the one piece of advice you would give to a young person entering college? For me, the answer comes quickly: the most emotionally intelligent people are going to …

Creative Writing - Poetry MFA Brian Miles, brian.c.miles@gmail.com
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

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