There's A Hundred Excuses Not to Get Out of Bed
Wednesday August 22, 2001 |
A couple of days have gone by in the semester, and many of us returning students are already contemplating what classes to skip and when to skip them - while still being able to keep the GPA where it needs to be. You innocent freshmen probably haven't thought about that stuff too much, most of you are likely still getting used to this enormous burden of freedom bestowed upon you and don't know what to make of it. But the time will come when you first say, "Hey, there are no parents to drag me out of bed anymore." With the freedom of living on our own also comes the freedom of making our own class schedule, something that was very limited to us in high school.
Sure, we may have been able to pick and choose what elective we wanted to take, or if we wanted to gamble on taking that accelerated math class for the immaculate 5.0. But that's about as far as it went. We still had to be there from 8 to 3, with only an hour's worth of lunch and passing periods in between for which to re-establish our collective sanity. You freshmen out there who voluntarily chose an 8 a.m. class don't yet realize how dumb a decision that was. Nor did I when I made the same error in judgment my first semester here. I'll be feeling your pain shortly.
Nevertheless, take it from a guy who has made more than his fair share of mistakes in regards to class attendance: Go to class. Resist the temptation to stay in bed for just one more hour, even if it only means missing that boring Mind, Matter and God lecture. Once you miss one, you may never go back. And if you do, it'll take a hell of a lot of coaxing and willpower to overcome the trap you'd have already put yourself into.
My first year and a half at this school was rather shameless. After finally getting it together last semester, I could have been the UA's poster child for indolence. Hell, even most hardcore, party-until-4 a.m. frat boys were able to haul themselves to their early-morning discussion, hangover and all, God bless 'em. But there were weeks where I barely made as many classes as I missed, and my GPA suffered mightily for it. I've just recently been getting it up to where it should be, and believe me - I have a long way to go. Unlike many of my slovenly counterparts, however, I've been able to survive this long, if just barely.
"But what's the point of going to those mind-numbing lectures if I'm just going to fall asleep anyway?" To tell you the truth, I'm not exactly sure. Maybe it has something to do with karma; those who are habitually able to get themselves to that back row auditorium seat are rewarded while the rest of us are punished, and justifiably so. But I think it's really more than that. Even if you're able to stay halfway conscious and scribble down the notes every other time the professor puts another set atop the projector, you're doing yourself a favor. Somehow, just enough will sink in more often than not, allowing you to get a decent grade on the tests. Your memory will be triggered with a phrase your teaching assistant threw out at discussion when you have that midterm essay question in front of you.
I'm trying my best not to sound hypocritical here. After all, me preaching about getting your ass to class could be considered the equivalent of the Marlboro Man telling you, "Kids, don't ever start smoking," in between puffs of one of his lights 100's. At least he'd be speaking from experience, though.
Bottom line, there's a hundred excuses not to get out of bed and go to class: nagging hangovers, nocturnal sleeping habits reacquired over the summer and of course, that awful sweaty feeling we all get once we get to our seat after walking a half a mile in this splendid 95-degree-70-percent-humidity torture. Honestly, I don't know how you out-of-towners from back north can stand it. But keep doing it. The weather will get cooler soon, aspirin should make the lectures bearable for 50 minutes at a time, and by all means, if you already can't stand that 8 a.m. class - request a schedule change ASAP. When you have to make that long trek home for winter break and report back to your folks, you'll be damn glad you did.