Mae and I figured out the secret to college life at Rose today.
Everything that happens freshman year–the residence hall floor activities, the supporting SA’s, the kind RA, the unity, and temporary friendships that form–it’s all to convince us that we can do it. That we can survive and tackle Rose. That we have a trustworthy network of friends and administrators just waiting to help us if we stumble.
That’s the only thing that gets some of us through sophomore year. We’ll drive ourselves into the ground with the underlying beliefs that 1) it will be worth it in the end, and 2) that we can have something like freshman year again if we work hard enough to get the un-fun things done.
That’s bullshit. It doesn’t come back, and it won’t. Whether it’s worth is up for debate, too.
The same thing seems to happen to those in sororities (and AXE) at Rose as a layer on top of the above. You join a sorority, have a happy gift-giving time for a while, then find yourself embroiled in politics and competitiveness to recruit more members. I remember the disappointment of some of my sorority-joining friends freshman year when this came to light. (This is only a matter of interest due to an opinions piece I wrote for the newspaper this week.)
Another illusion we seem to have: that there’s really an ebb and flow to this place. So many times I’ve heard someone (including myself) fretting about the tests of third week (or 6th, or 9th) and how busy and sucky that week would be.
But what about when you were sucker-punched with work the first week of the term because you thought your schedule was going to be a little more relaxing? Then you spent the second week recovering your balance and struggling to complete everything. Then there were third week tests. Then there was the increased stress for weeks 4 and 5 as you worked harder on little things to keep (or raise) your average. Then more tests. Then tenth week, when you’re fucking exhausted and there’s just one more due date and presentation to do and finals to think about.
There is no 9th week project crunch that wasn’t there for weeks 2, 4, and 6 for each mini-project, milestone, lab, or essay you had due. It’s all the fucking same, and it doesn’t get better.
It is unlikely that you will ever find yourself at a point where there is no additional schoolwork to do. If it’s not any of those above-mentioned assignments with due dates, it’s knocking the dust off that textbook you haven’t cracked since your earnest attempt first week to keep on the reading so that you can maybe understand the theory behind the shit you just turned in and called a lab report.
When I read things like A.’s “Halt failed: infinite recursion background process loop running“, I can say nothing other than, “Yup.” When another friend of mine suffers a nervous breakdown and finds herself reevaluating her own stamina limits, I remember my conscious decisions this summer about what I would take on this year and to what level I would involve myself in activities. I may be only a mediocre editor of the campus newspaper, but I sleep and eat and have fewer stomach (and emotional) problems than I did last year. Sounds like a good trade-off to me.
Hmm. I stopped outlining my NaNoWriMo novella to write this, and now I’m sleepy. Happy birthday to me, and let’s all hope I’m a little less bitter in the morning.