I have really bad senioritis. Seriously, someone should take me to the hospital. Wikipedia lists symptoms such as increased drug use, feelings of entitlement, and changes in sleep patterns. I have none of these. But I know I have senioritis, though, because lately, I’ve been feeling like a ripe tomato. I feel as though I’m about to burst. I have a tremendous amount of energy and fervor — just not for homework.
My senioritis is so bad that I would actually rather exercise than do problem sets. So when I had the opportunity to go to New Hampshire this past weekend to hike in the woods and then camp in an isolated cabin for the night, I was elated. After purchasing a loaf of bread, two packs of cheese, two gallons of water, and some peanut butter, my friends and I were off to the swing state in search of nature. Newly twenty-one, I started my hike by legally drinking a beer to celebrate my weekend of procrastination.
I never used to procrastinate. I’m a premed and premeds don’t do that. Oftentimes, we forget that there are other things that are just as important as volunteering and getting A’s. And we stress out.
Whenever I start freaking out because I have too many tests or I’m afraid I might do poorly in a class, my mother is quick to remind me that MIT is not a microcosm of the real world. Once, during freshman year, when I was being dramatic and wallowing in the fact that MIT made me want to kill myself, my mom sent me a copy of the New York Times Magazine Katrina edition with a post-it on the front that said “Sarah — Put your life in perspective. — Mom.”
I spent the car ride to New Hampshire trying to put my life in perspective. I wrote some poetry for my poetry class (the leaves were so inspiring!). As we drove past broken down houses, and beautiful crimson and gold trees and apple pie stands, I realized that no matter how much I complain about MIT, it will only be four years of my life. I still have approximately eighty other years of mild happiness if all goes well. This made me feel really great about the day. And then we hiked up to the tallest waterfall in New Hampshire, and it felt so visceral and wonderful to have my feet in the mud and to be looking at real trees and the sun, instead of fluorescent lights in the lab.
I had forgotten how beautiful autumn is. I spend so much time engulfed in my homework at this school that I forget there are four seasons. I think of the year in three seasons: fall semester, spring semester, and summer. Because I live in a cement and titanium jungle, I forget that the leaves change in October and that the crocuses will come back in April.
I was starting to feel so good that not even the McCain-Palin signs bothered me anymore.
We finished our hike and arrived at the MIT Outdoors Club’s cabin, which was located a 15 minute hike away through the woods. I appointed myself to the role of fire tender, hoping that pushing around a few red hot logs would make me feel like I could take on this school for my last year.
Unfortunately, we started to make s’mores. I haven’t eaten s’mores in a while, and I realized that they are one of those foods that give me such satisfaction that all I can imagine doing for the rest of my life is toasting marshmallows and smushing them between graham crackers. There is a primal pleasure in sitting around a fire and cooking food that makes you feel good. Psets don’t do that.
I’ve decided that campfires are bad for putting my life in perspective.