a reality check brought to you by the universe

It was about 3pm.

I had been up since 6:30am, miraculously I beat my alarm awake.

I had a final exam at 8am [I spilled coffee EVERYwhere at my seat upon walking in but walked out confident that I had ACED that little bugger of an exam] and had my next one at 1pm [I tripped up the stairs with the rest of my coffee to that one] and felt utterly miserable taking it [both of these had been writing intensive exams, I wrote a total of 4 essays so my hand was DEAD].

So when I was out, done, fed up, and waiting exhausted at the stoplight on my way home [my coffee thermos was now officially empty, no more accidents for me, hopefully] I almost didn’t register as the girl next to me started talking in my direction.

“Lovely weather, isn’t it?”

“Yes, honestly it is.” I wasn’t sure she was talking to me but I answered her nonetheless, taking a moment to look around at the pear and cherry blossoms making their way across the intersection caught in mini-wind gusts.

“You heading home?”

“Yes,” I said. “I’m exhausted and I haven’t eaten since 7am. I had two brutal exams today.” I was still angry that they had us take these on a Saturday.

“Oh man,” she said. “I’m a senior and I just got done with stuff too– I can’t believe I’m graduating next week.”

I told her she was lucky, that relaxing must be nice, and that I wish I were graduating so that I didn’t have to take anymore exams.

“What’s your major?”

“Media arts and design and German. What about you?”

“Oh, that’s cool! I’m a math major. Minor in English, though. I’m Katie, by the way.”

I told her it was a good convo of logic and art and was about to politely end the conversation, eyeing the light about to change, when she sprang this question on me:

“What are your aspirations in life?”

I paused, partially because I was trying to make sure I heard her right. But what the heck.

“To be happy,” I said after a few seconds. “And to make some sort of a difference, if I can.”

“That’s a pretty good aspiration,” she said.

At this moment the pedestrian man lit up, telling us to walk. We split at the middle of the intersection.

“Well, have a nice life,” she said, turning to walk the other way.

“Thanks, you too– and best of luck with graduation!”

I thought about how I would probably never see her again.

I thought about how I had answered her sudden question, and what that meant for me in terms of how I was going to proceed, that moment forward.

I thought about how cool it was, that the universe had granted me that moment, a brief, subtle reality check that forced me to think about all the ways I was hitting the walls between me and my own happiness.

My eyes followed her posture, her confident strides as she diminished down the sidewalk. Smiling, I followed suit back to my apartment.

xx

Pearls of Wisdom from my Economics Teacher

We’re at that point of the school year where classes are uneventful pointless, and everything is due before exams, making it both crazy and hectic.
In my Economics class, however, my teacher shared with us (he was feeling generous) a couple bits of advice for college and the real world, which I found rather humorous.  I wrote them down, and thought I’d share them with you.

Prof. W’s All-Purpose Words of Wisdom to Survive College and Life
  • “You are not a special snowflake. No matter how special and unique you think you are, there will always be someone just like you, even better than you.” Seeing that Prof. W’s humour is very dry and sarcastic, I took this to mean “don’t be overly cocky and think you’re the shit,” because nobody likes someone who is like that.  That being said, embrace you for you and don’t fall into the all-consuming trap of comparing yourself to others.
  • “Do the work, no matter how genius you are.” Again, assuming you’re being cocky, prescribing yourself as a genius who doesn’t think doing the work is required, he’s telling us to calm down. In order to be a special snowflake, you have to work hard and earn it.  No one likes fake snowflakes.
  • “Be nice.” Duh. Short and sweet, and probably the most important and basic things to know.  Be nice to others, be kind, and people won’t hate you.  It’s not hard.  Plus, being able to get along with people is a precious skill in the workforce.  Might as well do it in school and in college, and just everywhere you come in contact with people.  Which is everywhere.  All the time.
  • “If you can’t be nice, be funny.” This is Prof. W’s humour again.  You should always strive to be nice, but he reasons that if you’re funny, you can most likely at least disguise your less-than-pleasant attitude towards people.  However, different from Prof. W’s advice… being funny is different than being good-humoured.  Pick comedy and people may regard you as an asshole, depending on how you pull it off.  Pick good humour and people will find you easygoing and nice to be around. You shouldn’t use humor to cover up your assholiness, just…. work on it (;
  • “Follow your dreams, but always have a plan B.” Man, he sounds like my mother ranting to my older brother.  But it’s true! Do not, for a minute hesitate in chasing your passions. However, that does not mean that you should abandon all sensibility either.  Prepare for change, and have a flexible counter plan handy just in case you don’t happen to get famous, be president, or get a record deal.
xx