With finals week upon the current college attendees of America, I’m actually feeling a bit jealous. After graduating for what my parents informed me is, in fact, my last time, this is the first December in nine years that I haven’t had to study for a final. One might think I’d be elated. I mean, no class, no homework, no studying, no tests, I’m actually making money instead of handing it over to some “educational” bureaucracy just so they can turn around and give some other kid that is not me a scholarship. However, I’m feeling excited about none of these things, well, besides maybe my paycheck, and I was unhappy the whole time I was earning it, so maybe it’s a wash.
Before you write me off as insane, think about it. Were your finals really that hard? If I had spent the number of hours studying that I have to spend now at the office, I would have been on the good side of the bell-curve slope and the apple of my parents’ eyes. You may have your books open that many hours, but unless you’re some kind of special breed, you’re probably only actually learning anything for about a fourth of that time. The rest is spent trolling library halls, searching for a professionally diagnosed ADD friend that has extra study aids, checking your five social media accounts, praying for snow/ice/your campus turning into the opening scene from The Empire Strikes Back, or finding some other sap that is also burnt out after that solid 30 minutes of reading outlines and will accompany you for a study break at the nearest bar. All of those things are better than the 8 to 5 grind.
All of this has brought me to one conclusion: I was just better at school. I’m fine at what I do for a living. My boss(es) seem to like me, most of the time. Actually making myself put in 40 hours a week has been a bit of a struggle, but you can’t be totally awesome all at once or it will be a real bitch to maintain that expectation on an everyday basis. You’ve got to spread it out. There are two words that should make every finals-taker feel less to not at all upset about these tests: Christmas. Break. After that last 3-hour final, when I still have to sit here for five more hours, you get to go rage and demolish your college town’s strip before you pack up to go do the same in your hometown for the next three weeks. The amount of debauchery that will ensue over this time period will make your college town thankful for a calm hiatus from you, and your hometown wish your parents would move so you’d never have a reason to come back. It’s like taking the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and extending it by weeks. This is a luxury no longer to be enjoyed by us weekday warriors. While you’re at it, subtract all those other badass breaks too, and then really let this set in. Are you still so excited to graduate?
I obviously stretched this process out as long as I possibly could, short of just becoming a professor, which is still not entirely out of the question. I understand that the sought after Wooderson from Dazed and Confused situation of “I keep getting older, they stay the same age” wears out eventually, and then you just feel really damn old, especially at your favorite college bar, which you frequent about every other day by this point, as you look around and see a bunch of newly 21-year-old faces that look exceptionally younger than yours. Most feel the natural need to move on at this point, but I promise you, it’s not any better on the other side, at least it wasn’t for me. Now, here’s your call to go wing that final, pray for the best, then spend the next three weeks making people hate your freedom. Get it! As for the rest of us, I send my condolences on the loss of Christmas breaks past.