I have this very clear mental image of champion marathon runners who, after doing 26.1 four-minute miles, somehow manage to see that finish line and sprint across it with their legs flailing like The Roadrunner.
Seniors have finally reached the moment in the college marathon when we can see the finish line. This could light a fire under my little baccalaureate butt. I could hammer out my senior essay like a barefoot Kenyan busting through the finish line tape. I could be The Roadrunner.
Instead, I’m Wile E. Coyote. I’m using the wireless in Bass to shop for gigantic Acme slingshots online. So to speak.
A month from now when I’m crying my eyes out at Exotic Erotic, overwhelmed by nostalgia (a.k.a. Popov), I may retract this statement, but I don’t think this seeming inability to finish my graduation requirements is some defense-mechanism way of clinging to college. No, the problem is not that I don’t want to finish. It’s that I don’t feel like doing all the stupid things that I’m required to do to finish.
In light of Sinbad (Sinbad? I mean, come on) teaching Hillary Clinton about telling the truth this week, it seems an apt time to learn from B-list comedians. So, I guess I’ll take a page from the Stand-Up Schoolbook and, if I’m going to spend all of my allotted time on complaining, I’ll do it in list form.
Actually, to be honest (thanks, Sinbad!), I’m just so burnt out that I can’t manage to write the rest of this column in full paragraphs.
So here are the reasons why I’m The Coyote. And no, it’s not the yellow eyes, undisclosed source of spending money and lack of pants, so please stop asking.
1. Spring Break
Returning from breaks is for catching up with friends, not catching up on academics. That’s why God created Shopping Period.
After reflecting over break, it seems that several people broke up with their significant others. Or, conversely, were dumped without being there to have a say. That sucks. One of my friends spent a week at family therapy camp. My sister was nearly sold into white slavery on tour with her a cappella group (well, sort of). Basically, break was traumatic for lots of people. The marathoners who sprint through the home stretch don’t usually do it after faceplanting.
As usual, I’m more bitter than traumatized. Instead of returning from my jaunt in the African bush rejuvenated and inspired to dig in (preferably with a full draft of my senior essay that had sprung Athena-like from my head while I sat poolside with a mojito) I’m jet-lagged and covered in mosquito bites. I probably have malaria, but I have zero motivation. Furthermore, I’ve left my booty call on the other side of the world again. Zero motivation and zero catharsis. Who can work under these conditions?
2. Erroneous Presumption of Passion
In an e-mail sent by our dean’s office, we were given some sage advice on getting through the senior essay: “When you feel weary, try to remember what first drew you to the topic.”
Unfortunately for most of us, “graduation requirement for the major” is not a great motivator for completing the graduation requirement for the major. This struggle is even greater for people who subscribe to the “I only chose a major because I had to” approach to Yale College. You might recognize some of these people as Poli Sci and American Studies majors. Try not to make any sudden movements around them, and avoid asking them what their thesis is at all costs because they are likely to attack.
3. No Panic
I’ve met those freaks who can work well in advance of a deadline. These are the section weenies who, when a TA offers to take a look at drafts a week before the paper due date, don’t fall on the floor laughing. They actually read their course packets, they shower regularly and their lives don’t spiral out of control during midterms and finals. Basically, they’re better than the rest of us.
Obvi I hate them.
For the majority of us, panic must precede productivity. I’m unable to produce written work unless turning it in on time requires serious self-loathing and enough Red Bull to induce cardiac arrest. If only I worked manageable hours for a stretch of time leading up to the due date I would avoid the all-nighters, tears and 30,000 extra calories from Ivy Noodle. But what’s the fun in that?
I’ve tried convincing myself that I should be worried already, but I can’t fake the panic. I still take two-hour lunches and spend all my library time Googling “monkeys dressed like people.” For seniors whose plans are unsettled for next year, the work we’re doing now might actually MATTER, and still no panic. “I mean, people are really going to look at my grades,” one friend lamented today. “Yep. They are. I’m in so much trouble.” Her words were hollow as she munched on a granola bar and stared into the Cross Campus sun. She’s screwed. We’re panic junkies, and our source won’t land on campus for a couple weeks at least.
4. Cost/Benefit Analysis
Simply put, the benefits of doing the work just aren’t motivating enough. On a theoretical level I understand why a diploma is valuable, important and desirable. But really, why do I have to produce so many pages just to get ONE from Yale?
Most of us will pull it together to graduate, but work quality is dubious. Busting your ass for honors isn’t a rational approach; the difference between a 3.3 and a 3.8 can’t possibly outweigh hours of work, especially when it would detract from Wii time and enjoying the end of our lives before Real Life.
A friend of mine decided she’s going to buy herself a puppy for delivery (did you know they can do that?) after her senior essay is due. The only problem with this is that now she’s spending all her time online shopping for said puppy (did you know they make sleeping bags for dogs?).
I’m too unstable to care for a pet at this point in my life, but if you have another idea of how I can motivate myself, please let me know. I’ll be on the futon watching “Jingle All the Way” (thanks, Sinbad!).
Sarah Minkus: not the same person as Sarah Mishkin, despite what many think.