Another first week of school has come and gone. Generally speaking, the first week of school can go either way. It can either be in the running for the best week of your life, or at least the top ten or it can be the most unpleasant week of all time. My first week of my second sophomore year was somewhere between the two. Aspects of it were fantastic—meeting new teachers, enjoying the relatively good food in the caf, and the satisfying feeling of learning new things and feeling as though you’re exploring vast new areas that you never knew existed. For example, I knew that a plant had a reproductive system made up of a stamen and a pistil. I didn’t know that a plant had such a complex reproductive system that I could fill three pages of my notebook with just terms. That’s cool. And then came all the disagreeable things—feeling as though I was always one step behind, having the rug pulled out from underneath me midweek and the familiar sinking feeling that I will never feel well rested again. I kept telling myself that once I got used to the rhythm of being in school again and got a set routine, I wouldn’t feel like I was always scrambling and I would have time to stop and smell the roses. I know this to be true, but I’m still so ready for it to be the middle of September, to have a schedule, to know what’s going on.
If there’s one thing I truly hate, besides war, famine, pestilence, rudeness and stupidity, it’s feeling unsettled. I’ve lived in my dorm room for two weeks now and as I look around my desk, there are things that need to be put somewhere else. They’re perfectly fine where they are, but they make me feel crowded so I have to fix them. Now.
Ah, that’s much better. I am a messy person, a cluttered person, but sometimes my skin just crawls and I can’t focus unless everything is just so. Or at least more so than before. It’s not that I prefer order. But certain things, like studying just require it. It’s impossible for me to study without some idea of what I’m going to be doing while I’m studying, like taking notes, or knowing what subject I’m going to work on next. I realize that I should just focus on the task at hand, but I find that having a schedule and following it much better than working on history, then puttering around until I feel the need to read about the wedding of Figaro. I guess that’s sort of been my problem this week. After a whole summer with limited structure, I find I now have limiting structure. There are actually places I need to be at certain times and every hour or so, these places and times change. I’m not used to it yet. It’s been five days. I still have sixteen before I’ve formed a habit.
Sometimes though, I like to embrace the words of A.A. Milne. He very wisely said “One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.” My own constant chaos lends itself to much spontaneity. In my many attempts at meditation, when the goal is to quiet the mind, I’ve come up with my most exciting ideas. Zoe II, my home for this year, is a complete mess of color and noise, but somehow feels completely home-like. Did Jude and I plan this? Ha. No. It just happened. We got posters and other various and sundry items for decoration and threw them onto the walls. The scary thing is that we’re not even finished yet. We still have to hang our saris and the wall of Sexy Men—the second edition. And the year is still young.
There are so many wonderful things to learn this year! Beyond the plant reproductive system, and the causes of WWII and the ideas of Socrates, there is patience, and relaxing under pressure and a sort of “let it be” kind of calm. This year is going to be much more difficult than the last, but if I follow the words of Abigail Adams and apply myself with diligence, I can succeed. I will succeed. I may have to slightly alter my perceptions, but I’ve been doing that all week. A little more won’t hurt me.
The word “sophomore” in translation means “wise fool”. I feel wiser in the ways of how to be a college student, and at the same time I feel incredibly foolish. I am definitely in agreement with this statement. However, I’m going to have to wise up in the coming days, buckle down and study hard and well. My diligence will come and go, but as long as it keeps coming back, I don’t see a problem. I will beat sophomore slump and I will live life with joy. I am so excited for the learning to come. Nothing without joy!
Living to the fullest,
The Cartesian dictum “I think, therefore I am” might be better expressed “Hey, there goes Edna with a saxophone!” –Woody Allen