We’re heading towards the one-month semester marker, and this is where I usually start to get overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed. Is everybody overwhelmed? It seems like everyone I run into on campus is always just slightly out of breath. Hey, how are you? I’m great, SO busy though. Let’s get coffee sometime if I’m not crushed to death by the number of things I need to get done in the next 24 hours, shall we?
Last night I sat in front of my computer and stared at this Word document for close to three hours. By the end, I had exactly one line that I liked. (“I want to read The Economist, but I don’t want to be a douche about it.”) As a writer I’ve come to accept that this is just something that happens sometimes—words don’t work for a day or two and it makes you want to pull your hair out, but against all odds you’re having a good hair day, so you don’t. I got home to our apartment around 12:30 and just held my own head for a few minutes. My body ached, most of my assignments for the next morning still weren’t done, and I was never going to write anything good again, probably.
Julie had left our desk lamp on for me in our room. She always does when I’m out late. (As a side note, our beds are about a foot away from each other—and I say that as a fact, not a figure of speech. We have a rule that whoever is actively changing their clothes has the right of way, and the other person needs to get the fuck out of the between-bed aisle. It’s worked out pretty well so far.)
Jules was sleeping when I got home, with her face tucked so far beneath her quilted comforter that all I could see was her hair against her pillow. I tried to change quietly—I had the right of way after all, with no obstructions—but Jules woke up and peeked out from underneath her quilt. She asked me how the ‘brary was, I said it was good. I shut off the light and we said goodnight.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m doing here. In my tiny twinkly apartment, in my lofty seminar literature classes, in afternoon meetings with tennis co-captains that always run long. This year feels different somehow—in a good way, I think. One foot here, one foot where I’m headed, but both feet more grounded than before.
When Julie and I were away, we made a pledge to each other that this year we would remember to take a step back. Last fall we were just so strung out. You might remember how stressed we were studying for finals, or trying to prepare for study abroad. We slogged through the week like we were miners digging for coal, not students taking classes and working part-time at a campus office. It’s easy to get caught up in the weight of things. Exams, papers, grad school, leadership, romantic angst, co-managing a critically-acclaimed blog, the overwhelming uncertainty of the future, etc. It feels so heavy sometimes.
But it doesn’t have to be heavy. It doesn’t! Of all the things I took home from last semester, I think that one’s the most important. It might even be the whole point.
The world is so big. There are so many things that could happen and will happen. Why let the little things sink us?
What I’m Doing Here:
- Chatting with roommates over breakfast on a Tuesday.
- Discussing the role of women in comedy using Bridesmaids as a primary text. (Seriously, that’s the seminar class I’m headed to next.)
- Drinking iced hazelnut coffee with cream and a pinch of sugar from my favorite coffee cart that sometimes gives out Jesus propaganda with your order.
- Drinking beer. That’s important.
- Reading The Economist and trying really hard not to be a douche about it.
- Smiling whenever Julie leaves the light on for me.
- Learning how to write my story.
(Photography notes: Shout out to Meg & Sam for a kickass sunset cruise, pictured above. The featured photo was taken at some point last year at an event for our cushy campus desk job, and for some reason, I was holding soup.)