Let Me Explain: One page at a time

That old familiar feeling is back again. Let me explain.

What is it about this time of year that makes restlessness shake our thought processes? It’s almost summer yet again, and we’re one step closer to having to make huge decisions about jobs and relationships and living arrangements. It’s terrifying, and we’re half-tempted to let that fire inside of us burn out while we take the easy route of moving back home, landing an effortless job, getting married, popping out babies and allowing college to remain as the last recognizable challenge. We can name people from high school who have done just that and, despite their fa?ade of happiness, we pity them. “Don’t we all want more for ourselves?” we ask.

The future is scary; everyone realizes this. My parents are starting to look older, my brother is going to college next year and our dog can barely make it up the stairs. When did this happen? How did everyone except me age light years in the three years that I’ve been at SLU? My best friend’s dad passed away last week, and I kept thinking, “No. It isn’t time for this yet. We’re all too young for this now.”

Yesterday was my last day of classes for my junior year of college. What? I have no idea how that happened. I don’t recall the classes, friendships and events of the past three years. I’ve no recollection of taking exams and passing classes. I can only assume that I fudged my way through and that the professors passed me out of frustrated pity. I don’t feel any older; numbers are just being added onto my age.

What happened to those late weekend nights during high school, leaving friends’ houses and taking the interstate home at 2 a.m., singing at the top of our lungs? Someone needs to stop this train so that I can appreciate the way that things were: The way my parents ooh’ed and ahh’ed over report cards, the way I’d make my brother be the dog when we played house, the way our real dog would rest his head on my arm when we drove somewhere .

There are these flashes of moments in my mind from when I was younger and life was simpler. Back then, I could be an ice skater when I grew up. Back then, I could be a masseuse, teacher, politician, soccer player or real estate agent. But now-oh, that scary time called “now”-we have to actually be one of these things. It’s imperative that we take the skills we’ve honed over the years and shape them into a career. How can you choose what you want to do for the rest of your life when sometimes you feel as though you’re barely scraping by?

Aspiration leads to perspiration, and there’s a whole lot of that going on in classrooms across campus. The scent of sweat due to broken air conditioners mixes with the smell of building deterioration. Walking around campus now, it’s like everyone is rushing around stocking up on water jugs and Campbell’s soup before a huge storm. Books, papers and pens fly around the libraries as though under a Harry Potter incantation. What used to be a simple lunch date with friends has now turned into a rush to eat before pulling an all-nighter writing an American Lit paper . on the wrong book. The air is electric.

The collection of those mistakes defines college: drunken nights of misspoken feelings, certain encounters we wish to take back, failed pop quiz after failed pop quiz, car accidents, funerals, births . We’re all cats, living nine lives in four years. I hope I’m a calico.

People who were strangers only nine months ago are now friends, lovers or enemies. We come to care for people who suddenly care about us. How quickly bonds are formed when just what we need is a little human interaction.

It’s tough, though, isn’t it? To maintain a swirling world and manage a life when sometimes all you really want is to bypass final exams and take the bypass home.

For many of us, the road leads right back to SLU. After all: We’ve got a newspaper to make.