How are you?
I’m alive, I think.
I have cried more this semester than I have in the past ten years of my life.
I have hit rock bottom.
I am a wreck.
Am I even alive?
All of the above are responses I have heard from various people over these most recent weeks. Other people, obviously not me, have been seen roaming around campus with this look that reminds me of Will Smith in I Am Legend — haunted, hungry and horrifyingly tired. This person has a physics project and a biochemistry project on the same day, this person has four exams in three days, this person has a huge pitch for an advertising capstone and this person has spent the last three nights with Payson. Payson the library. Payson the jail. Payson the nighttime lover. Okay, too far, reel it in.
The full weight of academia has hit us, friends. And if it hasn’t hit you, then I hate you just a little bit because I find myself continually waking up from night terrors. Well, night terrors might a big of an exaggeration… But sleep has been affected, along with everything else. If I’m not preparing for whatever-thing-will-be-graded-next, then I feel like I’m wasting time. Maybe I’m just one big fat nerd, but this on the edge, anxiety-ridden, meltdown just waiting to happen is not healthy.
I propose this to you: Rock Bottom isn’t that bad of a place to be in, because, well, misery likes company. That is why they invented group projects in the first place — so you could all suffer together. Builds camaraderie. Builds student body unity. Builds the kind of friendships that only infamous all-nighters, six-packs of Starbucks espressos and Today’s Hip Hop & Rap station can build.
I have had my share of Rock Bottoms, but I find that the ones that are, dare I say it, even a little bit fun are those that I have shared with people who very quickly became friends. Or enemies. But I like to think the bonds built while slaving together last for some kind of forever. Freshman year, I stayed in the Sandbar all night with two of my suitemates as we discovered new Ben Rector music and quizzed each other for poli sci. Sophomore year, two friends and I learned the circulatory system by jumping around on the couches in our dorm lobby. Junior year, a classmate and I posted up in a classroom for twelve hours and drew organic chemistry mechanisms on the whiteboards, racing each other. Senior year has found me most nights sitting at my kitchen table with a bowl of popcorn, busting out a comprehensive report for my health and disease class while my roommates alternate between designing PowerPoints and researching companies for policy. All my roommates are majoring in something that requires journeying to the CCB. I (praise Him) have avoided that building for the most part. I hate that building. Give me the RAC and the fish tank and the soft couches any day, but I digress.
At the risk of sounding like the mega-nerd that I actually am (yes, I study on Friday nights and yes, my favorite movie series is Star Wars and yes, I carry a calculator in my backpack every day just in case), I believe in a vigorous academic program. I mean, that is what we are here for. We are here to study, to learn, to experience. And, sure, maybe that means we suffer a little bit under the hammer of the Institution of Learning at Large, but we have chosen this. We have chosen to expand our minds and, by extension, our futures.
Let us choose excellence, let us work that extra minute or hour or all-night to make that project the best it can be. Let us chug caffeine until it comprises the majority of the liquid in our bodies. Let us jam to our favorite station on Pandora. Let us make these last few weeks really, really count for us personally and academically.
My intent with this article was to shake myself (and you, sorry) a little bit. Look around you and encourage one another. Rock Bottom isn’t such a bad place to be when everyone is there with you. So pass the study guide and the snacks. We got this. These crazy teachers, this crazy curriculum, this life we have chosen has nothing on us.
Happy studying and see you in Payson.
Follow Taylor Nam on Twitter: @nam_nam330