We all know what it’s like to be a college student. Late nights, no sleep, waiting by the coffee machine and endless amounts of crap you need to get done. But let’s face it: only the last two weeks of the semester are spent like that — the week when all the final papers and projects are due and finals week. Except for nursing majors. Nursing majors are halfway dead by the 2nd week after school starts. For the rest of us, week 9 starts the time to catch up.
We spend the other 8 weeks of the semester working, going to the beach, spending time with family and finding ourselves in the craziness that constitutes life. As for school work, we’re thinking about it.
It’s the thought that counts, right?
Maybe. At the end of the semester, we’re all wishing we could take back all the time we spent relaxing “in the now” in place of relaxing “later”. At least, I am. There isn’t much I wouldn’t give for more sleep towards the end of a semester. It’s always the last two weeks when I realize how valuable time is. When you have 48 hours to study for 2 exams and produce a 10-page analytical research paper with only half a source (yes, half a source), all of a sudden there aren’t enough hours in the day.
My teachers used to say it all the time since I was in the 3rd grade, “Ruzelle if you just gave yourself more time, your work would be so much better. The work you get done procrastinating is good. You have great ideas.” Then I was hearing it again in the 7th grade. Then again in the 12th. And then again in my junior year of college. That makes me no stranger to such a work ethic, if you can call it that. Old habits die hard, I suppose.
I could never deny my Nat INT* — it’s what sets me apart from the average crowd. I’ve been told I’m quite impressive and impressionable, not that I necessarily agree. I was reading college level by age 10. I pick things up and process things fairly quickly. I almost set myself back in college so I could take Calculus for fun. I’m a Class A nerd with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and will spend hours reading and writing about things I don’t need to. But I am, oh, so very bad at school.
As I was preparing a slideshow presentation on Canada I was about to give in a language that wasn’t English, one of my classmates — who I’ve known since 6th grade — said to me, “Ruzelle, as long as I’ve known you, about half the things you do you pull out of your butt. And you’re damn good at it. I love it.” It’s true. I put together presentations on the fly because I know how to go on and on about relevant nothings. I can write an awesome term paper because I know how to write pages of analysis from one idea— and know how to find 3 sources on the fly to back it up.
At the end of every semester, I promise myself to do better. And at the end of every semester, I always find that I’ve just about failed. Perhaps it’s because I’m lazy. Perhaps it’s because life gets in the way. Perhaps it’s because old habits really do die hard. Perhaps it’s because I bore very easily and find myself getting excited about something else two months in. Or perhaps it’s because I haven’t found my groove yet and every semester something changes and I have a hard time handling it all at once. In whatever the case, I leave the semester thoroughly disappointed in myself and wondering how I managed to pass with a GPA higher than a 3.0.
Most of time, major life changes call for major butt-hurt and major wake up calls. I think this semester was mine. I didn’t altogether fail in everything I did, no. But I didn’t give it the Ruzelle Almonds passion punch in the face. I wasn’t dope. I hurt myself a lot this semester by taking on too many things and not doing enough or being too scared to do anything at all — and that goes for everything, not just school.
So here’s my new promise. And I’ve got it in writing. I have 1 more year to prove that I deserve everything I have. Because I’m pretty sure I’m not going to have any more chances after these that I’m getting. So if I fail myself this coming spring, I’m moving after graduation to the practical life I was supposed to live. Because with the lackluster attitude I’ve been having as of late, I might as well. I’m not going to wait for the spark, I am the spark.
No more steps backwards. 2014, I’m coming for you.
* for those who aren’t into D&D, that’s natural intelligence