In my three plus years here at Temple University, I’ve noticed a few things that happen every November.
Each year, the brown and yellow leaves fall from the trees, and each year as the chill sets in the coats and parkas get unpacked so students can go to class and compare a whole other set of clothing.
And possibly the most interesting annual happening is when Temple students begin to walk around campus like zombies. Blank faces, thousand yard stares, and glazed eyes are everywhere on this campus, usually starting in mid-to-late November.
It’s almost uncanny how this happens. Right before Thanksgiving, the Temple community goes into semi-hibernation, a school full of Stepford students that mindlessly follow their class schedules, just waiting for those two wonderful days at the end of the month without class.
Why does this happen each and every year? Burnout? Maybe … but let’s be honest here. This is college, not nuclear physics (well, except for the nuclear physics majors). This really isn’t the type of activity that should cause those who undertake it to require Prozac after about three months.
Is the stress level of college really this high? Is balancing a course load that, from personal experience, can carry such cake courses as Beginning Tennis and Human Sexuality (both highly recommended classes, by the way) really this tough?
In a word, yes. In a few words, yes it is difficult, but it really doesn’t have to be. And it definitely is not so difficult that students should walk from class to class looking like extras from the set of Night of the Living Dead. Dealing with college is basically an exercise in two things: time management and persistence.
The time management is the easy part. Stop staying up all night watching “Clerks” and eating cold pizza, and get a decent night’s sleep, and maybe you won’t feel like a lifeless mass stalking your way around campus. When the phone rings the night before that big test and your friends want you to tag along while they go cow tipping in western Pennsylvania, bring your books and read on the way.
And as for the persistence, well, that’s fairly obvious. As an example, think back to your first college class and try to remember what you learned. Chances are that at this point, you don’t even remember what building it was in, much less the content of the class. College is basically a four-year test to prove to the real world that you’ve got what it takes to stick to something, to finish what you’ve started.
If we’re beaten down so badly by a few lousy classes that we’re reduced to slack-jawed drones just praying for a snow day, then we’re in for a big wake-up call come graduation day.