Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ode to College Students

My last few writing endeavors have been of a sober quality, and seeing as I probably won't be writing another for a while because I'm headed back home soon, I figured I would end the semester with an ode to college students (although not a poetic one)...

Yesterday I was delivered a 1,000...correction- 1,252 page fantasy book to read for the month of May--the sight, including the deliverer with his bookbag weighing almost half his own weight (hardly a dramatization), was the catalyst to my sentiments about finals week, a week filled with late nights, black coffee, piles and piles of books, spontaneous laughter, and the playing of motivational songs (Destiny's Child's Survivor, anyone?)  And as the deliverer walked away, books shuffling on his back, I smiled to myself.  Welcome to the war of the printed word.

We come to dinner after the first day needing sustenance, exchanging stories of lengthy exams or monotonous study sessions encaged in the same four white walls all the day long--so that's what fresh air feels like.  The flowers are magnificent, the gray sky encapsulated in splendor, the thinnest blade of grass precious--Back to the dorm.  But we'll have you know that finals week is more than a test of endurance.  This isn't about who finishes--we are all expected to.  This is about how we handle it...I must say that the idea of finals has always deeply confused me, a type of gratuitous evil even.  I look around at my fellow classmates, and I don't know whether to be proud or saddened.  Many speak of agony and lack of understanding.  What are we fighting for?  It might help to take a look at our equipment...

Laptops, everywhere.  Digitized faces splayed back in reflection.  Meticulous scrolling, concentrated focus.

Large packs with two straps.  X-rayed to contain more books than one could possibly read in the hours that encompass a semester.  Piles of pens and pencils, highlighters, the assortment.

Glasses.  Tired eyes.  Messy buns.  Sweat pants.  The attire of the physically and mentally exhausted.

So there you have it--a typical college student.  But you see, we aren't so typical.  Because in a week filled with stress and tests and malnutrition, we find each other, where we are.  We notice that the flowers are indeed way too beautiful to exist, yet they do.  They do, and when this week is over, when we go back to what some refer to as the mundane, I hope that we can remember what it was like--a week of time tension, where it seems to stand still but spirals forward simultaneously, a week of disequilibrium that seems to contain an overflow of information that our minuscule minds can never comprehend.

Although we appear to be fighting, word for word, we fight for more.

It takes a week like this for us to really feel the refreshment of the rain, to embrace how our plans change as we walk through it to our next destination.   I hope we remember our communal plea that life is more than the printed word.

And that sometimes the mundane is actually magnificent.

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