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Finals week and the rise of No-Doz nation

No. Oh, please no. Here it is again, inevitable as death and taxes. Finals week this time around may well be the point at which I finally lose what is left of my mind. This year it never really sank in that summer was over until a couple weeks ago. A flurry of frantic catching up ensued and now I’m at the point where if I ace my finals my grades should be slightly better than Chris Farley’s in “Tommy Boy” (“A D?-I passed! I passed!”).

This is a common theme with students, who as a whole seem to be a masochistic lot. If they are not starving themselves to save money or drinking their age in shots on a Wednesday night, they are staying up three nights in a row on No-Doz and coffee to finish a term paper they were assigned about a month ago. Everybody knows in the back of their head that it isn’t easier to slouch into the new school year and gradually reacquaint yourself with the idea of “work,” culminating in some madcap drive-by learning at the end of the term, but the instant-gratification impulse can be pretty overwhelming.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the human mind was not designed for studying. After millions of years of evolution, our instincts are still to take care of where the next meal is coming from, or the next whatever, and worry about tomorrow, tomorrow. After 16 years of school in one form or another, my mind is pretty much full, although there are people who would disagree with this assertion. New information is constantly crowding out the old … It’s been awhile since I took a math class, and I could probably stand to refresh my understanding of the multiplication tables. All together now – Learning is fun! I need a drink. Or a big rag and some ether. It worked for Hunter S. Thompson.

Sometimes I wonder if waiting to really go for it until the ninth inning actually is the worse route to take. If I come from behind and pull it off this year, I will feel like a hero, even though the enemy I just defeated was myself. Although a fairly lazy person on the whole, in the proud Jeff Lebowski/Sleepy the Dwarf tradition, every once in a while I can get into the whole triumph-over-adversity thing. If the adversity is self-imposed it does not seem quite as bad. You can at least blame yourself, instead of feeling like you got screwed by the world.

When you first start college, it seems like a wonderful novelty that many of your classes involve very few graded assignments as opposed to high school. Most of the weight of your grade is on the midterm and the final, which only makes two days out of the term that you absolutely have to be in class. Staying home and watching Springer has no immediate repercussions. When it’s too late, it sets in that being the geek and hitting the library once in a while might have been a good idea. Or at least finding out where the library is.

The library can be such a soul-draining place, though. Some people study better when they have no distractions but I am the exact opposite; make me spend an hour in the library with just myself and a textbook and I’ll feel like going outside and chopping down that 11 million dollar tree.

So, If my columns are still appearing in this paper after the break, you’ll all know I didn’t flunk out, and that I survived New Year’s, which is always a big question mark. But that’s another story. Let us all pull together now, children, and beat the crap out of our finals, and then we can play.