I’m going to miss spring break. I realize that’s true for all but the most masochistic among us, but after such a long and lustrous on-campus vacation, telling myself to return to the academic schedule is like asking Robinson Crusoe to vacation in the Bahamas. He’ll do it, but don’t expect him to leap for joy at the opportunity. Especially not after he’s had a week to get used to sitting at home eating processed snack foods and leftover pizza in front of a perpetual YouTube header.
There’s a reason why the answer to “How was your break?” is, almost without fail, “short.” I’m going to operate under the assumption that it’s because time flies when you’re having fun, but it’s also entirely possible that the less social among us move so little from our chairs that time dilation works backwards. (I’m still amazed that I’m at a school where I can use jokes like that and have readers understand my blathering.) As one of the few that remained on-campus over spring break, I can say with confidence that even in the ghost town that the MIT campus became last week, there were still fun people to do fun things with. Certain anticipated video game and film releases have a way of keeping geeks properly occupied, while those ahead of the time-management curve have been dutifully chiseling away at the homework assigned over vacation. There should be plenty about to keep a person occupied — until one takes into account the effect of too much free time on the human mind.
I’d hope there are at least a few of you out there who are familiar with the productivity Twilight Zone — not enough motivation to do anything productive and not enough interest to do anything frivolous. The hours of the day waste away as you sit in your room, feeling sorry for the cow whose jerky you’re nibbling as you stare out the window at the gray Cantabrigian landscape and wondering what might be wrong with you that you can’t think of anything to do with all the resources at hand. Or perhaps that was just me.
For those of you who know what I’m talking about, I’d be more than happy to offer some advice to help prevent falling into this maelstrom of despair, if only I knew what to do about it myself. I’m hoping that I will eventually rediscover the drive that once fueled my part-scholastic, part-monastic existence and channel it into an attention span worth speaking of. Until then, here I sit, gorging myself on the snack that smiles back and contemplating how much messier my side of the room can get before it interferes intolerably with my capacity to function. Best of luck to those of you ailing in kind, and please — let me know if you solve your problem before I do.