I Regretfully Regret: Cramming for Physics

Wait, wait, I know this isn’t all that original. “A college student procrastinating on important college work? Oh me, oh my.” But hold on and just read the damn post. Humor me.

Indeed, “Procrastination” is my middle name – a middle name I’m sure I share with plenty of you, college students or otherwise.

As you may remember, I recently started a new post series called “I Regretfully Regret” – which was supposed to be weekly, but cut me some slack. I’m a lazy college student, remember? This week, my Regretful Regret is cramming for a physics midterm and here is why:

  1. Physics is damn tough.
  2. What the hell is Bernoulli’s equation again?
  3. When did my handwriting get so bad?
  4. Crap, I can’t figure out half of what I wrote down for notes
  5. Is that a “t” or a “w”?
  6. Calculator… battery dead? Nooooooooo… Must scramble through a dozen and two drawers to find batteries.
  7. 1:43 a.m. – if I finish in half an hour, I’ll still get approximately 5 hours and 47 minutes of sleep
  8. 2 hour session of alternating among studying, YouTubing, and crying
  9. 4:12 a.m. – can still get 3 hours and something something minutes of sleep [oh no, my math skills have died]
  10. Inject emergency caffeine supply into arm. Head to class.

Stay in school, kids, and practice healthy study habits.

Yeah, right.

What is a recent Regretful Regret you have? If you’re a student, do you have any school-related regrets to share? (Don’t lie – we know you have plenty). Share them in the comments!

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Occupy EVERYTHING (Except My Lawn) Part 1

“Mic check!”

“Mic check!”

“Mic check!”

Holy crap. This Occupy movement is wild.

Occupy the University

Today, students  coordinated a mass walkout at noon on my campus. Walk out of class to protest exorbitant tuition rates and an uncooperative administration. “Students are part of the 99%!” For those who didn’t want to or couldn’t walk out of class, green (one of our school colors) sashes were distributed. Wearing them symbolizes your participation in the solidarity movement.

“Show me what democracy sounds like!” Someone shouts.

“THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY SOUNDS LIKE!” Everyone shouts back.

The energy was enormous. I walked out of class (after class was over) – I had neither the gonads nor the desire to skip class. I walked to the park blocks where the student unit was assembled. Someone was yelling through a bull horn. I could barely make out the words from where I was. The weather had decided to finally rain down on us after days of abstaining. No one cared. It was going to take a lot more than a bit of precipitation to break this group up.

Students held up signs: “Fund $chools, not Prisons,” “Shame on U,” “We are the 99%,” “Stand Up for Your Right for Affordable Education.”

Every so often, the crowd cheered, whooped and shouted with vigor. It was a mob, but it was a peaceful – or at least they strove to be peaceful, but we’ll get to that in a second.

The leaders got off the podium and began the march through campus. The chanting started immediately, you could feel the vibration from their collective voices. You knew a lot of students wouldn’t be able to talk tomorrow; their throats would be so sore. 

Occupy the university It was unreal for the reason that it was so real. That probably makes little sense, but that’s what it felt like. It’s one thing to see people protesting from a distance or on the news or YouTube. It’s another thing entirely to actually be in it. I was part of the solidarity movement. I was chanting here and there, whenever I felt like joining in. We stopped traffic. People were getting out of their cars and honking and complaining to the police standing by.

Ah, the police.

Bicycle Police

Police look kind of cool on motorcycles

We should give them a hand, a round of applause for being as patient and cooperative as they were being. Bicycle police lined the sidewalks beside us, making sure we didn’t leak into the streets. Cops on motorcycles were lined up on one street and then followed us in intervals. Really, the police here get a lot more flack than they should get.

“Banks got bailed out!”

“We got sold out!”

It was absolutely crazy, but phenomenal. Walking down the sidewalks, watching the police and the passerby and the people looking down at us from their cubicles – it was crazy. Just crazy. Shouting, drum cadences, bongos, and “Viva la Revolucion” yells were everywhere.

We stopped in front of a bankruptcy court and crowded near.

“Mic check!” Started the first person.

“Mic check!” Echoed the first tier.

“Mic check!” Echoed the second tier.

Making a statement I had heard of this method of communication, consecutive shouting toward the back of the crowd so that everyone can hear. I had read about it, but this was the first time I had seen the process in action. To say the least, it was really neat. The riot police standing behind us across the street made me uneasy.

Was this going to get violent? The students claimed it was a peaceful protest and held up their fingers in “V” shapes for peace. The riot police in their black get-ups and helmets with their hands crossed one over the other in front of them was an intimidating sight. I glanced nervously between them and the action up front.

People stood at the front of the crowd one by one, stating their name, their field of study, and how much money that owed in student loans. They then decried the injustices of corporate bail outs, the ridiculousness of sky high tuition, and the lack of financial aid available.

“My name’s Tracy!”

Echo. Echo.

“I’m a student of [university]!”

Echo. Echo.

“I’m studying political science!”

Echo. Echo.

“And I am $30,000 in debt!”

Echo. Echo.

Fund Schools, Not Prisons

The average student graduates with $27,000 in debt. Did you know that? I hadn’t previously known that. I am only in my first year of college and this value scares me. However, I am fortunate. My grandfather started a 529 account for me when I was 4 years old. Over the years, the account has grown to an amount that, if I use it wisely, should help me pay for my 4-year degree with little to no debt. I am fortunate and I am grateful. Although I am not in debt, I support my fellow students. I support their cause, if not all their tactics. The economy sucks. That’s not a national secret. The economy is the worst it’s been in years. Unemployment in my state fluctuates between 9% and 11%.

Something has to be done.

 

[END OF PART 1]

‘Twas the Night Before College

Dedicated to my fellow victims of pre-college jitters.

‘Twas the night before college, when all through my head
My thoughts formed a clutter of worry and dread.
The fears of what lay ahead of me were deep,
Preventing my mind from getting some sleep.

I sprang from my bed in my jittery distress.
“If I don’t sleep right now, I’ll wake up a hot mess.”
But these questions wouldn’t stop agitating my mind,
Bombarding me from the front and from the behind.

Will there be people I meet, who will like me for me?
Or will I have to compete in a social Grand Prix?
I’ll oil my engine and shine up my hood.
Heck, who am I kidding? I’m a loner for good.

Is everything ready, my supplies all set?
Is there anything that I happened to forget?
What if I’m late or I can’t find my class?
And what if I make myself look like an ass?

“Stop being so glum,” I said under my breath,
“You’ll choke in your stress and worry to death.”
So I tried to imagine the best case scenario,
But only succeeded in thoughts “au contrario”:

“You loser! You failure! You stupid, dumb idjit!
You’re foolish! You’re hopeless, you slow-minded nitwit!
Don’t open your mouth for fear you might spread,
Your numbskull ideas and your IQ of bread!”

Well, that didn’t help. Good Lord, was I sweating?
Who knew that college could be so upsetting?
And I’d yet to start. It was still Sunday evening.
I had a few hours left before I’d be leaving.

No sugarplum visions would waltz in my head.
I’d be screaming of nightmares if I ever got to bed.
It was like Christmas eve, except without all the joys.
And without the fresh cookies and waiting for toys.

It was more like death row and I’d committed one crime:
Failed college in a day – a Guinness record of time.
I’d eaten my meal that I’d blandly requested,
A plate full of nerves, which I sourly ingested.

At that moment I looked at the mirror beside me,
And I jolted upright as I saw my own zombie.
My eyes – how they drooped. My dimples – how bleak!
My cheeks were like ashtrays. My nose sprang a leak.

This couldn’t be healthy. I mean, what the heck?
It was like Halloween from my scalp to my neck.
I had class in the morning! I needed some sleep!
I did everything from poetry to counting some sheep.

So I went back to bed and I pulled closed my eyes
And changed up my strategy by thinking of lies
Of good things happening on my first day of classes,
Instead of me drowning in my mind of molasses.

At first, it was tough because of the jitters.
It was worse than Starbuck’s apple pie fritters*.
But after a while, my mind settled down,
And giving a snort, I was knocked outta’ town.

Off to the land of “La La’s” I went,
Where no drop of fun was left unspent.
As soon as I reached my own slice of heaven –
“Holy crap! It’s noon! Class started at eleven!”

* I don’t think Starbuck’s apple pie fritters are bad. I just needed something to rhyme with “jitters,” so don’t sue me.