Translation of title: “It’s always the same thing”
My very first blog post involved a mini reflection of 2018. I figured, now it being a new year, I would continue the trend with a rundown of my first two weeks.
Unlike the majority, I did not wake up on January 1st, 2019 with a pounding hangover headache after a night of irresponsible drinking. I welcomed the new year sitting at my desk, playing video games with people I will likely never meet in person and whom I only know by voice and Fortnite skill, and half a lukewarm Modelo.
It was alright.
A few days ago, I was late to physics lab— yes, the semester has started and no, I am not happy about it— thanks to a line of cop cars at each corner of every street in town. I learned, during lab, that a police officer had been shot as she was attending to a multi-vehicle accident. The suspect was still on the loose and a manhunt ensued.
Our small college town of a mere 70k, where bicycle theft is the most common crime, panicked. My new classmates and I walked each other to our cars after receiving another half-hourly update via text.
Suspect still not found. Man in his 20s. Wearing black jeans. Black combat boots. Avoid downtown by all means.
My usual commute home involves 1st and E, or 5th and F, both located in the heart of town. On this night, at the corner of 5th was a cop car parked up on the sidewalk, the officer outside, standing stiff, in a bulletproof vest, AR-15 slung around his neck. Is this America now? I thought to myself, chills creeping down my spine as I drove past the scene.
They found the suspect around 1 AM.
Gunshot, self-inflicted, to the head.
Inside his home, only a couple blocks down from my own.
Land of the free, home of the brave.
As I mentioned, the semester has started. A week ago exactly. After slacking off and eventually withdrawing two days before the last day of fall semester— technically meaning I dropped out of college, something I can now say I have done— getting back into the groove of school has proven more difficult than expected. Every semester, like every new year, starts out the same. New year, new me; new semester, new me. But they both carry on identically, with a continuing desire yet failed attempt to lose weight and old academic habits.
The first week starts out like so: I skip my first class and convince myself it’s okay because it’s syllabus day. Then I skip the next. And the next. Eventually, I do go. I’m a new face and I hide in the back of the room, slumped in a sweatshirt with a mysterious stain, hoping that the professor does not notice me and realize I’ve already skipped three of four lectures. Oops.
I make an effort to develop better habits and make up for the missed classes. This involves a trip to Target, which the other thirty-four thousand students have already done, a similar idea in mind. There are only a couple of notebooks left, wide-ruled, covered with cute puppies or glitter, designed for elementary school kids. The section with agendas and planners is empty. I opt for the nicest supplies I can find, one notebook for each class, and grab some fancy looking gel pens off the rack last-minute at check-out. Maybe this multicolored pack of Pilot G-2s will get me better grades.
The second week is what I call catch-up week. I copy lecture notes in my fresh notebooks with my fresh pens, making sure every ‘o’ is rounded perfectly and every ‘i’ is dotted eloquently. I only make it to the seventh line before my OCD kicks in and I rip out the page. The dashes weren’t lined up correctly and my ‘l’ looked lopsided.
I try again.
I rip out another.
The notebook shrinks, its bindings weakening at each frantic tear of a page.
I struggle getting through even half a notebook throughout the semester and eventually decide the anxiety of perfect penmanship makes it not worth going to class. My attendance grade plummets and I flood professors’ inboxes with a whole bunch of “I was sick and don’t want my absences to affect my grade” bullshit.
Procrastination, another habit I will most likely never break, and my lack of interest in school kicks in fast. I spend more time on the internet, playing video games, sleeping in past acceptable hours, and ignoring my responsibilities and deadlines.
Finals week comes around and I’m barely scraping a 2.0, praying that everyone has failed the physical chemistry exams (I did) and so a 50% overall is a pass. Luckily, it usually is.
A week-long break later, the following semester begins, once again, with hopes of A’s. It ends, once again, with unused notebooks half the original size. It’s always the same thing.
I turned twenty-two and a half over the weekend. I’m not sure how that’s relevant but I thought I’d share.
I also still drink pumpkin spice lattes. One sits next to me now. I fear the day the barista tells me they are officially out of season.