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Matthew Hein

Now is not the time to drop out. I know that the sun is shining. I am fully aware that your friends are going to the beach tomorrow. And you are not the first person to suddenly realize that academia is all just a big joke.

Sure, there are plenty of things you could be doing right now besides making flashcards of verb tenses. But don’t drop out. You have made it this far. You have jumped through innumerable hoops. You have already bought your books. You have paid Portland State for whatever class you’re in.

You don’t believe the institution will happily rescind your full tuition and fees if you simply quit showing up to class, do you?

There are many times in life when one senses that it is time to quit. There are times when it becomes absolutely clear the situation as it stands can not continue. But this is not one of them.

This time, you have to hang tough. It’s Jordan time. Clutch time.

Here is the perfect opportunity to show what you are made of. You have reached the last lap, and it’s time to dig deep.

This is higher education, not some foreign art film you can just walk away from when it gets incomprehensible!

I know it hurts. Walk it off. Take one for the team. Get in there and get your hands dirty.

You or your parents or grandparents or whoever didn’t struggle through whatever they struggled through so you could decide you just couldn’t take two more weeks in the Neuberger basement.

Are you a man or a mouse? Are you a woman or a wombat? Well, get in there and get it done.

Now that you have received the best pep talk this side of Tony Robbins, you may want to start considering some practical steps to help you achieve your goal (reminder: your goal is to complete this term, receiving whatever grade you consider acceptable).

First, remind your friends, roommates and loved ones that you may not be altogether caught up in the spirit of summer for the next couple of weeks. Tell them when you expect to be finished, and suggest they keep you in their thoughts until then.

Whenever you do see these people between now and the last day of classes talk about nothing except how busy you are with school. Occasionally extract flash cards from your pockets, and review old class notes whenever somebody mentions “Austin Powers.”

Follow this advice and before too long you will notice a marked decline in the number of telephone calls you receive. Party invitations will dwindle. It will seem almost as though you had no friends at all. Hey, it worked for me!

The next step toward reaching your goal (complete this term!) is free and simple. Unplug your television, forego the newspapers and generally remember the outside world is the enemy. Wars, kidnappings, budget crises, “Sex and the City,” baseball games and crossword puzzles are all enemies.

They exist only to distract you from reaching your goal. They are nothing more than elaborately constructed cons.

All of those things will still be around when this term is finished.

The third and most important step involves identifying yourself and your struggle with one of your heroes – real or fictional. Whistle the theme from “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” as you approach the library. Hum the X-Files music as you open your statistics textbook. Ask your computer screen, “Are you ready to rumble?”

Let us review and summarize. Although it may seem like the logical thing to do, do not drop out of school. Tell your friends and children that, although you love them very much, they are standing in the way of your goal, and must be eschewed.

Pretend that Organic Chemistry constitutes the whole of real life.

The tribulations and triumphs of others, whether on a local or global scale, matter less than a single misspelling.

Finally, imagine yourself as the Shaft, Superfly or Wonder Woman of academia. Wherever you walk people step out of the way.

Which brings us to the fourth and final point: It’s okay to sleep and eat and even shower occasionally, as long as these extracurricular activities are kept to a bare minimum.