You know those GEICO commercials with the pig going “weeeeee wee wee weeeee!”? That’s me, minus the curly tail, and with the addition of opposable thumbs. I’m psyched that summer vacation has officially begun, even though it means not seeing my out-of-state friends for four months. Four months of stress-free relaxing before I will be barreling head first and tunnel-visioned, once again, through 6-7 classes worth of coursework per semester.
There’s a saying on campus that anyone who goes to my college essentially lives in a bubble during the semester. For the entire 3.5 months of each semester, we live, eat, and breathe our classes. There is no hanging out. There is no relaxing time. There is no sleep. Weekends are not for lounging, they’re for studying. If it’s the weekend and you’re not studying, shame on you, you should feel terribly guilty. Anything and everything you do revolves around acing your next exam. You tunnel vision until you’ve secured your A, and then you crash. That’s basically the mentality of the majority of students at our college.
Now this bubble is only ever-present during the semester, and it’s always a wonderful and satisfying experience to be able to pop the bubble and expose myself to fresh air and civilization for a few months before the bubble reforms itself yet again. I should mention that that bubble is neither transparent nor opaque; it’s more selectively translucent. Sometimes I check into civilization during the semester, most of the time I don’t.
One of my favorite things about stepping out of the bubble, believe it or not, is being able to lie in my bed at night and think. Just think. It’s only these times that I don’t have exams, deadlines, and stress hanging over my head, and it is just the most comforting feeling to be able to reflect and be at peace. It’s only during these few months that I am able to do this without being rushed by my own conscience telling me that my blackberry will be buzzing out of its holder in mere hours and that in the morning I will be regretting these hours that I am spending picking my brain instead of going to sleep.
It’s probably for this same reason that I enjoy long rides on empty trains. For a few moments I get to feel alone and at ease. I can hog two chairs for my bag and myself. Or I can sit in the middle and save a seat on the right for my bag and a seat on the left for my imaginary friend if I decide to think up one. To make the hour pass, I can read, study, listen to music, or stare at various oddities – people and objects included – on the train if they are present. It’s these little freedoms that make me the happiest. The freedom to spend my train ride home however I please, the freedom to lay in bed and think without worrying about time ticking away precious rebooting time. It’s little simplicities such as these that give me some of the greatest pleasure. To some, this is odd. To some, I too am odd. And that, is yet another one of the things in this world that gives me pleasure in knowing.