Approximately 25 percent of us are currently languishing our way through second semester senior year. Those of you who have yet to reach this glorious apex of Yale-funded extravagance and morning-after crapulence, behold the glistening light at the end of the tunnel.
Allow me to paint a brief picture of Second Semester Senior Year for those of you clawing your way through sophomore slump or — gasp! — still waking up at 8:30 for Monday-Friday language classes. Here’s an idea:
We’re a month into school and I have undoubtedly spent more time planning my spring break than I’ve spent doing any semblance of productive work. In addition to serving as the number-one patron of StudentTravel.com, I have watched the entire first season of Family Guy on DVD, sat through all three installments in the Indiana Jones trilogy, read the same edition of Men’s Health twice without realizing it and organized my roommate’s pack of 500 colored pencils in rainbow-color order, taking into account nearly 15 shades of brown.
Is that what a Yale student sans work does with her spare time, you ask? Well, yes. And also, suffice to say that the owner of Viva’s knows my middle name, the bouncer at Bar has stopped checking my ID and the bartender at Rudy’s knows what kind of sauce I like with my frites without even asking me (honey mustard, clearly).
Just a moment ago, a friend who lives upstairs stopped by to give me some animal crackers and asked me what I was doing. When I informed her of the topic of my rant, she looked indignant. “I’m a senior and I do stuff!” she said, righteously. “Like, right now? I just checked my PO Box. And now I’m going to go clean my room.”
Despite my upstairs neighbor’s adamant objections, I insist that I am not a freakishly indolent outlier on a campus of otherwise industrious seniors. In fact, I take enormous solace in the fact that I’m really not alone in my sluggish and principally-supine lifestyle. I like to think that my friends and acquaintances constitute an accurate simple random sample of Yale ’05, and most of us can be found, at any point, doing one of the following: a) poking around on various Web sites and then sending friends mind-numbingly ghastly images of other people’s venereal infections (I’m unfortunately not kidding), b) alternating between playing Kings and perfecting the art of the power-nap, or c) intently ignoring a pile of papers including senior photos, senior essays, graduation announcements and syllabi for classes that we keep forgetting we’re actually taking.
Honestly, I know about 10 seniors who still haven’t bought books for at least two of their classes. I know one gal in particular (you know who you are) who has wagered a Benjamin on the promise that she will not do a single page of reading before April. We, the esteemed class of ’05, find ourselves a full month into our ultimate undergraduate academic enterprise and we haven’t even been to the library yet. Except that once, and that’s because we were hungry and needed to pass through those hallowed halls to reach the faithful vendors of Machine City.
We sing karaoke. We take advantage of $5 martini nights. We see which foodstuffs in our respective fridges taste good with peppermint schnapps. We stumble down Chapel in the snow like freshmen and blame it on our shoes. But we do not get out of bed before 11. Even on days when we have 10:30 classes.
Unfortunately, our listlessness does not correlate to work that we really ought to be doing. Excepting those assiduous few (bless their souls) who have already submitted the first 20 pages of their senior essays, the substantial majority of ’05 has not even really seriously comprehended the fact that our final theses (the tangible culmination of the last four years of academic endeavor!) are due in a little less than three months. In fact, if I were to announce that exact truth within a gathering of seniors, I would probably be chased from the room, beaten with unused notebooks and socially ostracized for the remainder of the month.
Instead of facing such abject realities, we have tacitly yet collectively chosen to ignore our books, refuse to read taunting e-mails from our respective DUSes and aggressively avoid locales where we may encounter our senior essay advisors. Instead of confronting our commitments, we blithely detour around Old Campus to half-off half-yards at Richters on Monday nights so as to avoid that voyeuristic professorial-haunt that is Starbucks window seating.
I’m not quite sure how this saga will end. “Senioritis” was, of course, quite a different beast in high school when our futures were neatly paved before us. But grappling with that topic is, like everything else in the prototypal senior’s life, something that I will put off for another time. At some point in the next three months, we will wrest ourselves from our lassitude, hit the pages and the keyboard, and firmly affix our noses to the ol’ grindstone. But in the meantime, there is nothing — nothing — like the satisfaction of climbing into bed on a Tuesday night having spent a long evening with old friends and good beer. I wouldn’t give up that Senior Year for a cure for this debilitating disease we all seem to have contracted somewhere around late November.
Just now, I went to visit my upstairs neighbor to see if she had any more animal crackers. I found her asleep in her (still-messy) bedroom, clutching a pack of carefully color-coded markers. The third disk of the Family Guy series was humming happily in the background.
Ah, yes. Senior year, let’s relish it while we can.
Haley Edwards will not flunk and become a super-senior to keep writing her column despite her editor’s begging.