It’s been a crazy, crazy, CRAZY 2 weeks!
I definitely think this semester is the most hellish of all my semesters at Grinnell.
In just these two weeks, I have written a total of 43 pages. Can you imagine that? Just page, after page, after page… all this in addition to regular class homework.
I know I’m always complaining about having a lot of work, so I’ve been thinking about this issue for a bit. I obviously know all undergraduate schools have a ton of work, not like high school, Pn. Ellen comes in, talks in front of the class, we sit at the back, day dream life away.
But then I hear a lot of people here (jokingly) complain that they wish they hadn’t chosen to come to Grinnell, or that they wouldn’t have come here if they knew how intense the work load is. So I wondered, just how bad is Grinnell?! How does it actually compare to other schools??
I know, for myself, being “busy” took on a new level of meaning. Back then, “busy” meant, yeah I have exams, I have homework, but still wanna go out to makan, wanna go yumcha, still okay. Wanna spend one afternoon go catch a movie, possibly still fine. Here, “busy” actually means “OH SHIT I am drowning in homework, skipping dinner at dining hall!!”
Also, I know Grinnell is on Princeton Review’s list of Top 10 undergraduate schools in the U.S. whose students study the most. So that sort of says something la. When I was choosing schools to apply to, I used Princeton Review A LOT. So during the beginning of this semester, my friend and I decided to answer the survey from which they get the data that they use to construct their rankings.
One of the questions asked how much time one spends studying on an average day, and the options to choose were like “1”, “2”, “3”, “4”, “5 and more”.
We were both like, WHAT?!?! On an average, normal, not-a-lot-of-homework day, I spend 5 hours doing homework and readings. On a homework-heavy day, I spend 7-9. During weeks closer to finals, I spend 12 hours. And the days before a huge paper is due and I have to pull all-nighters, I spend, what, 16 hours?
Princeton Review, revise your survey options please!
Last weekend was Winter Waltz, basically the prom la. I hadn’t planned on going, ’cause I had so much work, but my friend pointed out the ridiculousness of the situation — I am on the committee, we spent weeks organizing it, we spent two long days decorating the venue, I spent hours working on the invitation that is sent to all of campus, and I end up not even attending the event itself?
Okay la, she was so persuasive, and during dinner I got so caught up in all the excitement, I ended up making the decision to attend Waltz. But just for an hour okay, no longer than that Ihavetoworkonmypaper.
I was in my room after showering, putting on my dress etc., when my friend came in and loudly declared that we should drink. So we went to another friend’s place and had classier stuff, which doesn’t happen very often I tell you, we usually have cheap stuff. Long Island Ice Tea, Tequila Sunrise, Sex on the Beach…. but all with extra shots hahah.
We managed to attend the final 20 minutes of Waltz, and we were still holding ourselves fine enough to remain quite classy in our dresses and heels, suits and ties.
But I don’t know how much else I had after that, because all I remember was coming back to my room, giving out packets of my SuperRing to my friends (regret!!), instructing them to “suck on it first!”, and then trying to serve vodka to people by pouring it into the opened packets of SuperRing in their hands.
Here’s the sad part: despite being drunk, despite trying to have fun that one night after several weekends of staying in to do homework, despite trying really hard to not think about classes, and again, despite being drunk, I was still so anxious about my homework that at 2 in the morning, when people were chilling, drinking in my room, when I was still in my waltz dress and heels, I picked up my backpack, put on my coat, and announced that I was going to the computer lab to work on my paper.
Can you believe that! I walked to the computer lab in my dress and heels, after Waltz, at 2 a.m., leaving my friends in my room, TO GO DO HOMEWORK!!
And apparently, I was declaring very loudly in the hallway that I was “fucking going to get an A in this class!!”.
I was told the next day (by my friend nice enough to layan an unsober person to the computer lab) that once I sat down at a computer and opened my Word document, I gave a huuuge frustrated sigh, buried my head in my hands, and just sat there like that. I don’t remember that, but I do remember this — the feeling of being really, really, REALLY SICK OF HOMEWORK AND CLASSES AND PAPERS.
I HAD JUST FINISHED A 17 PAGE PAPER 2 DAYS AGO! NOW I HAVE ANOTHER 15-PAGER TO WRITE!!
And as if that is not enough, I have another 7-page paper due 4 days after my 15-page one is due. And a 3-page French paper. And various readings for classes. And a 5-minute French presentation. All in the same fucking week. And in the following week? A 10-page critique paper. Kill me now and get it over with, why doncha?
So in the computer lab, I became very emo. I was babbling on about how my life is just about schoolwork and classes now. At the time I was seriously so so SO unhappy about it, but now it just sounds super dramatic and super exaggerated, and hence sort of ridiculous. My friend ended up giving me his bracelet as a present somehow HAHA I don’t know why I asked for it! I gave it back the next morning.
So that was my Winter Waltz experience. My decision to attend Waltz was a decision to take a break from schoolwork for one night, but guess that didn’t happen, because schoolwork must dominate everything, kan? You cannot have fun if you’ve not completed me!!!! says the 15-page paper.
Anyhow. I swear, I thought it was such a shitty paper, I was feeling so bad when I handed it in, because I felt incredibly guilty about wasting an entire night not being clear-minded enough to work on it and hence ended up not having enough time over the weekend to write a good paper. But I ended up getting a 97! I must be incredibly lucky, because I wrote one-fifth of that paper drunk.
So in the end, I don’t regret it, spending Saturday night like that. It was A LOT of fun (hahah though it doesn’t seem like it here ’cause I am too lazy to describe the night). I’m trying to keep in mind that I will always have a lot of work. As long as I’m in Grinnell, I will always have that 15-page paper, that 60-page reading, that presentation, that class test. But I will not always have opportunities to have so much fun with friends, especially with people you know you only have 1.5 years left with.
(Although honestly, after Waltz I had started writing a post titled “Waltz Wasted my Time”, but didn’t get through the first paragraph because I realized the 500 words I write here could be 500 words towards the page count of my paper. Now I changed my mind. Waltz was NOT a waste of time.)
I’m doing pretty well in my classes. My aim this semester was to stay on the Dean’s list. Now, I’m thinking that it’s not so important, maybe. Heck, I’m a sociology major — I learn about social structures and oppression and inequality. 3.8-and-above GPA’s are not helpful tools with which to change the world! Your freaking A in class cannot help you fight oppression!!
I will have fun if I want to. Whenever I’d been tempted to go have fun instead of doing homework, I always reminded myself of what my mom would want me to do. Get good grades, right? My mom would be damn disappointed in me if I left my Microsoft Word document behind on a Wednesday night to go smoke hookah, right? I always put myself on guilt trips like this.
But actually, even my mom tells me to remember not to burn myself out. I’m sure my mom would be prouder if I got good grades while still having fun with my friends than if I lived like a hermit. I wanna have more time to have fun, man!!!!!!! I HATE SCHOOLWORK. WHY CAN’T I LEARN THINGS IN CLASS WITHOUT HAVING TO DO HOMEWORK!
My friends and I stayed up all night last night, to work on our papers. There were also a bunch of other people with us in the computer lab, even at the ungodly hour of 5 AM. One guy rolled up his coat and used it as a pillow to take a short nap on the floor, because he was so sleepy. SIGH, welcome to Grinnell, people.
At 5:30 AM, my friend had a breakdown. It was so scary! She suddenly started laughing HYSTERICALLY, super loud, about how she is so fucking tired but she still has 2 pages left to write BUT she cannot think anymore ’cause she is so fucking tired!!
I swear, that is one of the worst feelings in the world. Being SO SO sleepy, but not being able to sleep because you have a paper to write, but also not being productive because you’re so tired you can’t think. But again, you can’t sleep because the paper is due soon!!!
So my friend was laughing hysterically, and frankly at one point I couldn’t tell if she was laughing or crying, it was kind of scary. This other person was trying to get her to calm down. In the end, you know what helped? Suggesting that we go to Rabbitts, a bar downtown.
And that is what we did. We wrote our papers till 7 AM, came to my room to have a shot of Smirnoff, walked to Rabbitts, the sketchiest bar in all of Grinnell, had a shot of tequila, half a glass of beer, went back to her place, had a shot of Hawkeye, I waited for her to smoke for a bit, decided we need more alcohol, so took another shot of Hawkeye. Then walked back to campus in time to go to our 8 AM class.
It sounds crazy, sounds like we’re alcoholics, but honestly, it was so much fun!
The whole experience of going to the sketchiest, most questionable bar in town (dark, greasy, bad-smelling), after staying up the entire night, and bargaining with the sketchiest bar owner in town (because it was happy hour –yeah at 7 AM!– and he forgot to give us our discounts), and then walking back to campus, all tipsy, and for a moment, forgetting that we still have not finished our paper oh noes!
My friend was saying somewhat awkward things to people before class started, so I told her to just shut up until class ended. But then she suddenly became so gung-ho during class, she kept raising her hands to answer questions. All the time I was thinking, please don’t say anything stupid! I think people could tell. But still, 4 shots and half a glass of beer later, still holding on pretty damn well!
Going to class tipsy — gotta try it sometime!
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If you’re wondering why am I drinking so much, I just wanna say, I don’t. Waltz night was my first time actually being drunk. And frankly, drinking with friends is needed if I want to keep sane amongst these crazy, crazy mountains of schoolwork. And plus, LIFE’S A PARTY!
So, it is Friday and I have written 43 pages in the past two weeks. Next week, another 10-page paper. How wonderful life is!