I Love Ya, Tomorrow

To Do Tomorrow:

1. Finish honors capstone project

2. Finish honors capstone project

3. Be a room monitor for the Undergraduate Research Symposium

4. Finish honors capstone project

5. Have [imagined] argument with Woolf about the contents of my honors capstone project

6. Reevaluate my caffeine intake

7. Finish honors capstone project

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Awards

The reason why–in the midst of scrambling for meaning in To the Lighthouse, scrambling to find a job, and scrambling for enough sleep to get me (upright) through the next day–I keep plodding on, is because amazing things seem to keep happening, despite my frazzled mental state.

I am receiving three awards from the University of Minnesota, Morris:

Outstanding English Major

Curtis H. Larson (which means I’ll be my class’s student commencement speaker)

Allen W. Edson (for total contribution to campus life)

I’m humbled and excited and so, so happy that the school I adore seems to love me back.

Fin 2012

I have just come to the startling realization that I do not own Wuthering Heights.  My favorite of the Bronte novels, the quintessential Byronic, I-just-want-to-hole-myself-up-with-lightning-in-the-background-and-rage-at-Cathy’s-moronic-actions-and-then-cross-my-arms-in-smugness-because-now-Heathcliff’s-available novel.  Or at least, that’s how it is for me.

Anyway, I dug for about fifteen minutes, came up with six other books I should read in the near future (Les Miserables unabridged; Life of Pi; The Last Lecture; This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen; The Wit of Oscar Wilde; This New and Poisonous Air, in case you wanted to know), but no Wuthering Heights.

Presently, I’m not sure what to do about this problem except to pout about it.  Easy enough, as I’m already missing Dick Clark and dreading my New Year’s 5K tomorrow.

All that aside, the true purpose of this post should probably be to lay out the future of Eight Days a Week.  After all, this blog was created for a 2012 New Year’s resolution, and the resolved duration was only a year.

However, although I’ve shirked, and although this is only the 293rd post (is it possible that I dropped that many days??) and not the 365th, I love the darn blog too much to drop it permanently.  I hereby resolve, then, to keep things going indefinitely, to blog even more in 2013 than I did in 2012, and to generally whine less about paper writing and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Happy New Year, friends.  Thanks for reading.

Paper Writing with Virginia

Writing this Virginia Woolf paper, I feel as though she and I are engaged in a battle of wills. I have to wrestle with her for every sentence of analysis; I have to put her in a headlock to obtain an entire paragraph.  Virginia (as you may have experienced, grappling with someone typically puts you on a first-name basis with them) is the most present of any author whose works I’ve read.  I’m not sure how to explain this, exactly.  I’m not seeing visions of her (our sparring is purely imaginative), but I feel her.  Sometimes when I’m frustrated over a contradiction I’ve just discovered in my thesis, or utterly unable to decipher a passage, I look up from Mac and say aloud, “I am not afraid of you.  Let me write this, please!”  Sometimes, Virginia seems to relent, but sometimes she crosses her lace-covered arms and looks down her nose at me.  She has a long nose, but the effect is still good.  She twitches an eyebrow (and I am terribly embarrassed to admit to myself that she looks like Nicole Kidman in The Hours).  I tremble and shed a few tears and flop back against my pillows and attempt to recover my dignity.  I think that’s what Virginia would have done to people in real life.  I think she quietly, sometimes humorously, floored people.

I’m going to get back to it now.  Virginia is eating the Sour Skittles I got on Halloween and pursing her lips in the most Victorian manner possible.  Oops, now she’s futzing with my electric hair dryer.  I may have to give her a book and make her sit in the corner until I’m through.  I highly doubt, however, that I’ll be able to prevent her from giving me that look and from calling out highly inappropriate quips every fifteen minutes or so.

I’m not seeing visions.  7.5 pages to go.

Confessions

1. Today, for the first — and hopefully, last — time in my life, I used the phrase “butt out” in an essay.  It was my Latin American History final exam essay question, to be exact, and the more I wrote, the angrier I became at the way the U.S. has treated Latin America throughout the years.  I wanted my conclusion to be some sort of heated statement about how the U.S. needs to clean up its foreign policy, and for some reason, the only way I could think to express that was to essentially say that the U.S. should “butt out” of Latin America.  I debated writing this, sitting in a classroom at 9:30 a.m., flipping through the scribbled-on pages of my blue book.  And then I decided that the rest of my essay was solid enough that two words of the conclusion wouldn’t affect my grade, and that my professor was young enough and lighthearted enough to appreciate a little coarse humor, and that it was 9:30 a.m. and I was past caring about niceties anyway.  So I laughed to myself, turned the darn thing in, and went home.

2. Although I use both frequently, I honestly don’t think I have a firm grasp on the difference between a colon and a semicolon.

3.  Sometimes I buy people gifts that I actually want myself.  Sure, I only buy them when I know the recipients will actually enjoy said gifts, but beneath all of that holiday spirit is a selfish desire to give a gift simply so that I can be in close proximity to said item without the guilt of having bought it for myself.

4.  My room is a disaster, tra la tra la.  It’s actually become hazardous: I slipped on a scarf a few minutes ago and was sure that my left wrist would not survive.  Luckily, I grabbed on to my drying rack at the last second and regained my balance.  It should also be noted that said drying rack has been “drying” the same five red shirts for about a week now.

5.  I’ve been on a serious grapefruit kick lately.  I don’t know if the stress of finals is making me crave immunity-boosting citrus or what, but I swear I could actually feel myself going through withdrawal yesterday when I ran out.  Is drool a sign of grapefruit withdrawal?  Okay.  Don’t answer that one.

6.  As soon as I go home for break (I’m aiming for Sunday afternoon or Monday morning), I plan on diving into the most sentimental, comforting books I own.  Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, etc. I saw a quote the other day that said, roughly, “Life’s too short to read the same book twice.”  I couldn’t disagree more wholeheartedly.  I say, “Life’s too short to force oneself to read a new book when one really wants to read Little Women for the twentieth time.”

7.  Finals update:  Only one 10-page paper left.  Yes, that’s a lot of pages.  No, I haven’t started the actual writing yet.  Yes, I will be locked in the library tomorrow.

Last Week of Classes

You know it’s that time of year again when…

1. You spot a student toting around a liter bottle of Mountain Dew and a styrofoam cup.

2.  There are suddenly no open seats in the library.

3.  Facebook whining abounds.

4.  Pajama pants are the new jeans.

5.  Procrastinating on one paper consists of working on another.

6.  You cannot talk about everything you still have to do without the seven people nearest to you jumping down your throat, bewailing seminars and presentations and cumulative exams.

7.  The line at the coffee shop is a mile long, especially after 9 p.m.

8.  The library begins to offer free five minutes massages, and turns the poetry room into a sanctuary of meditation and smelly oils.

9.  The expressions on people’s faces, once you get past the red eyes and pale cheeks, are identical: a healthy combo platter of frenzied, weary, and grimly resigned.

Also:

IMG_0362

Everybody pray.

Marathoning

I needed to write my Virginia Woolf final paper last night, and my friends, I was struck down by apathy.  Otherwise known as senioritis, otherwise known as the senior slide, otherwise known as post-Thanksgiving culture shock.  Suddenly, it all seemed futile: writing papers, doing readings, sitting through lectures, even serving on student government.  How would any of this help me with my life’s work?  I wondered.  How was it relevant, and why was I killing myself with stress and fatigue juggling it all?  Further, why did my intelligence have to be dependent on a literary paper, or a history exam?  Why are we forcing our young people to compete like this, and to stretch themselves so thin that they can hardly breathe?

Giving up, I went to bed at eleven.

I skipped two classes today so that I could stay home and write, but still, I couldn’t come up with a good idea.  A little of the apathy was gone, but the desperation that replaced it was even more paralyzing.

Now, sitting in an empty classroom in the social science building, To the Lighthouse propped open with my cell phone, Mrs. Dalloway marked over with pencil, I finally have an idea that could potentially become a ten page paper.

This is a small gain, however, as there are five more papers ahead.  And two exams. And a senior seminar presentation.  And a job interview.

The worst part about finals, let me tell you, is not the actual work: it’s the anticipation of the work, and of the effects said work will have on your well-being.  It’s knowing that you won’t sleep, will eat whatever’s quick, and will not have any social contact outside of class and the library.  It’s like a marathon:  We prepare ourselves for it, we put ourselves through the intense stress of the actual event, and then when it’s over, we feel triumph, but we also wonder (maybe in the back of our minds) why we ran in the first place, and whether we’re really better for it.

I don’t know, folks, but I’m gearing up at the starting line regardless.