Espresso expressions

Dec 062006
Authors: Jenny Pedersen University of California

(U-WIRE) DAVIS, Calif. – Let’s be honest: I’ve sunk to a new all-time low. Everyone in college procrastinates sometimes. You should be, could be and would be studying. But instead you make pasta, wash your dishes, bleach your teeth, go to the gym and finally sit down to write that letter to your Great Aunt Ingrid.

I despise my classes so much this quarter that yesterday I decided to scrub my toilet just to avoid studying for a midterm, and frankly I was happy for the distraction. The desperation of this disturbs me on multiple levels. Most obviously unnerving is that I didn’t think shades of my mother would come out in me this strongly until I was, I don’t know, in my mid-30s?

As the quarter draws to a close, professors’ voices become little more than a background buzz in the ear, hot TA’s are losing their luster with each passing discussion section much like I’m losing my summer tan, textbooks have become more boring and harder to read than when you first bought them and even the irritating smart kids in class, who have shirked the responsibility of student-slacking solidarity and spent the entire quarter making the rest of us look bad, have lost their steam and shut up.

The good news is in approximately four days I can stop my daily trip to the bathrooms of Wellman to scratch off yet another day of the quarter on the stall wall (whoever decided to make Spanish a five-day class is an idiot).

A wise person (obviously not myself) once said life happens while you’re busy doing other things. This explains why all dramatic events, both spectacular and traumatic, occur during finals week. It is why you find yourself at two in the morning the night before a midterm, a 10-page term paper or your column locked in a conversation with your roommates about life, love, the pursuit of happiness and the hottest Disney character of all time (definitely Eric from The Little Mermaid) – instead of permanently attached to your laptop, which is where you know you should be.

Now it’s crunch time and we’re all spending a lot more time in the library. We are doing the very best we can to focus, whether that means living in your favorite striped flannel pajamas or doing espresso shots at regular 45-minute intervals. I pass tables full of people hunched over textbooks. But in reality, I have never actually met anyone who reads them. They are probably the most expensive “reference guides” you’ll ever buy and never read. Besides, I see that glazed-over look in your eye, so what are you thinking about?

I personally fantasize about meeting the authors of my textbooks. Who are they and how did they manage to live with themselves for the months it must take them to write such drivel? And I can only imagine that to write it means they, too, must have actually had to read other books as boring as their own. Is it like some sort of intellectual cult where they have candlelit readings?

I’m hoping that being knee-deep in research on the anthropological symbolism of snow crabs causes some sort of nirvana state and some soul-searching moments of clarity, which you simply aren’t sharing. Still, I can hardly make it to page three and I didn’t even bother with the intro.

Nonetheless, professors gaze benevolently on their tiers of students as if the hundred-plus pages of reading they just assigned was an awe-inspired blessing meant to shape the shameful hours of our otherwise fruitless free time.

What our professors have forgotten is that we’re not here just forking over tuition money for a college education. We are paying for a college experience.

People, these are the days of your lives, so study, become successful, etcetera. But more importantly, go watch old “Duck Tales” episodes with your downstairs neighbors, Facebook chat with your high school best friend about surviving school in Iowa or just let the guy you’re kinda into stick around until three in the morning “fixing your computer,” or, you know, whatever it is that you do.

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