Family Weekend could not have come soon enough.
Not because my parents were visiting (which they weren’t), or because my friends’ parents were visiting and I thought I’d at least get a good meal (they weren’t; I didn’t), but because at that point I really just needed a break.
Last Saturday it took hours to get my feet on the ground. After celebrating the almost end of midterms with hot cider and rum, I was in no hurry to get out of my bed in Swing Space the next day. I was also freezing since Drunk Kalli had decided to open a window.
It being the first day all semester that I was neither out of town with the shotgun team nor particularly stressed about upcoming due dates, my original plan had been to wake up early and get some leisurely studying done before my friends’ Family Weekend performances.
Yeah. Right. I know. Even Drunk Kalli had suspected that the only thing I wanted to do last Saturday was absolutely nothing.
I’m going to be completely honest with you: this semester has not been easy. Sure, over lukewarm Berkeley mac and cheese I will laughingly complain with you about our workloads and compare extracurricular obligations and we will joke, “We’re going to be up so late tonight! Haha!”
But in my head I’ll be thinking, “NOT FUNNY. I’m almost 21 years old and I spend most of my time procrastinating, whining, engaging in occasional narcolepsy, and studying? This is not okay.”
Mostly I’ve been missing the summer. Just three months ago I was living in Manhattan, working two publishing internships and maximizing my savings so I could explore the city and still eat dinner. I found that it sucks to be poor in New York but it rocks to be young in New York. Where else can you wave to drag queens, hear nine languages spoken on a single city block, stumble into a bar with a live jazz band and craft beer options in the thousands, and consume a bacon-wrapped hot dog smothered in coleslaw and jalapeños, all in the same evening?
In New York I felt like an integral part of something bigger. It was addicting.
No more addicting than my warm sheets last Saturday, which at this point I had burrowed under, tucking my quilt up to my chin. It didn’t help my mood that I could hear the rain outside. Until I couldn’t hear it anymore because it had turned to chunky flakes of snow.
“Why do I need to be here for four whole years?” I thought, for easily the 207th time. “Why does Yale need ME for four whole years? I could be an adult already! Ramen tastes better than dining hall food anyway …”
But by then it was 2:30 in the afternoon, and the Rhythmic Blue show started at 3, so with super-human determination I convinced myself that it really wasn’t that far from Swing Space to the basement of Morse, that I wasn’t a bad friend, and that I would be there, no matter how much I wanted to pretend that I was anywhere but New Haven.
I did make it to the show. Though my hair was still dripping from snowmelt and my hands were still numb, in the middle of the first hip-hop number I started to feel a renewed faith. These guys were FIERCE. Not because they broke it down like pros (which they did), but because they were facing the same midterms and terrifying life questions that I was and they were still out there dancing their asses off.
I ended up at a lot of shows last weekend. I’ll admit, it was addicting.
By Saturday evening, I was happier than I’d been all semester. Because where else can you see professional-quality spoken word and gospel and orchestra music and dance, all by full-time students, all in the same weekend? And where else will people forgo their toasty beds to bundle up in a record-breaking snowstorm and pack the house?
I can think of one place.