For those pitiable few who don’t habitually read my column, here’s a brief update: Last time I wrote about the glorious splendors of Seniordom, about the celebrated shift in the fun:work ratio of life that occurs second semester senior year and about the fact that the term “homework” seemed to have been lost in the evolution of our great language.
What the hell was I thinking?
Was my head so firmly planted in the sand that I simply did not see the looming truth of the senior essay darkening the skies ahead, or was I legitimately and clinically deluded? Did the surgeon general’s warning attached to alcoholic beverages (“may induce memory loss”) actually hold clout in my imaginary collegiate world? Had I watched “Animal House” one too many times or believed too fully in the rigors of academic life at PCU?
The Monday after I wrote that article, I visited my senior essay advisor who blithely informed me that a draft (a series of words conveying an iota of actual substance and based on genuine research? Impossible!) was due in two weeks. It was as if the cosmological configuration of life on earth had flickered, and I had seen the matrix beneath. I was shaken to the core. I was lost in a world whose rules had been fundamentally redefined, and I had somehow deleted that e-mail from the master’s office (before reading it, naturally) which would have notified me of the alterations.
The term “homework” had been cruelly reintroduced into the routine vocabulary of my day.
But the fact that the abstract notion of homework had been rehabilitated did not solve my problems. On Tuesday, none of my habits, which are utterly antithetical to the idea of assiduous academic exertion, had been curbed in the slightest.
I’m still celebrating days of the week according to their alliterative alcoholic counterpart (“Margarita Mondays,” “Jagermeister jueves”) and cultivating my blossoming friendships with the Viva’s wait staff. The only thing that’s changed is the amount of leaden guilt that I carry, Atlas-like, on my shoulders in place of a backpack, which ought to be laden with books.
Unfortunately, I write this not to reveal the secret cure to my academic lethargy, but only to retroactively correct the insouciant tone of my last column. I do, however, foresee salvation. In fact, I hereby place all my hopes of turning a deaf ear to the siren call of senior nights, to complete my draft and to graduate from this here Ivy institution on one supreme woman: She is omniscient, she is tenacious; she is my mother.
And she’s coming to visit this weekend.
When I’m around my mom, a few interesting things occur. First, I devolve into a nine-year-old child. I make my bed as soon as I leave it in the morning. I tell her where I’m going at all times. I refuse to eat food that is, for lack of a better description, inexcusably nasty (read: the dining hall at 6:55). And I develop a sudden inability to pay for myself. (In fact, I generally stop carrying around money all together.) Second, the fun:work ratio that rules my daily life is radically skewed in a direction more fitting to one enrolled in a competitive and renowned educational tradition (read: the “do” part of my infinite to-do lists becomes operative).
It is this second effect elicited by my mom’s presence that I hope to cultivate. Actually, I both rue and gleefully anticipate the moment she asks me about my “homework,” because when that woman figures out what needs to be done, you could set an egg timer to discern the moment it’s completed. She writes her to-do lists in the morning and is left with been-done lists at night. She’s a no-nonsense kind of gal. The welcome upshot of her type-A personality is that when Mama Sweetland gives me a pep talk, it’s effective.
And a pep talk is exactly what I need.
While I positively cannot wait to hang out with my mom this weekend for reasons beyond my own selfish need for a personal disciplinarian, I am genuinely looking forward to her motivational assistance in the ol’ academic realm. I can’t wait for a few great mother-daughter talks over bean soup at Atticus in which she tells me all the reasons why graduating without a job-slash-a plan-of-any-sort does not necessarily spell a life of misery and financial limbo, as seems to be the pervasive opinion within certain offices at UCS. Moms can really be the best thing sometimes; who needs more than unconditional love, invaluable advice and an occasional and persuasive reminder-cum-threat to get on the proverbial ball?
At the very least, I happily await a much-needed retreat into the jovial senility of a nine-year-old. Breakfast in bed at the Omni will be but a refreshing corollary to a well-spent weekend with my personal therapist, my motivational speaker, my very own duce of academic affairs and my great friend.
For those of you poor souls who have fallen into the unfortunate custom of reading my columns, I hereby promise you this: With the help of my mom, my next column will once again be delightfully void of references to reading and the definition of “work” will refer, yet again, to the rigors of flip cup.
Haley Edwards’ favorite day of the week is “Dubra domingo.”