Saturday, May 07, 2005

Re-posting: Onward to Spring Break

Originally posted February 5, 2005

The closer we get to the halfway point of the term, the more the students start to fall apart. I've had three in the hospital this past week. One of them has irritable bowel syndrome, one has what she called a "paralyzed stomach" and the other won't say but I suspect her eating disorders have kicked up again.

There was a note under my door this morning from a student. "I can't turn in my paper today. It's a piece of pathetic crap."

They don't deal well with pressure, some of these kids. They get sick, they get nervous, they go a little nuts.

What they don't realize is that it's just college. These are just little assignments that teachers give so we can figure out what grades to type in next to your name at the end of the semester. They're not life and death, these grades, these papers, these group projects. They're very often little more than glorified busywork. Truth? They're to prepare you for a career of TPS Reports and annual "employee self-evaluations."

Make yourself sick over it? In 10 years, no one will care what you made on the midterm or whether you can do MLA-style footnotes. College really is about finding what you have a passion for, discovering if you can write in a new voice or communicate in a way that inspires others. It's learning the craft of research, finding out if you can meet deadlines, if you can work with people in a way that doesn't make them sick. This is just college. When you're 40, you'll remember five minutes of it. Relax.


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