As a junior in college, you would think that I am prepared to handle the conclusion of my fifth semester, but over Thanksgiving break, I found myself more stressed about academics than I have been my entire “career” as a student. This semester, I foolishly elected to take five classes and three labs, which gives me simultaneously a lot to do and a lot to complain about. Thanksgiving break thus proved to truly be a calm before the storm. I engaged in healthy behaviors such as sleeping without setting an alarm, taking walks with my dogs at a leisurely pace (as opposed to my class-startsin-two-minutes-canter) and drinking only enough coffee to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
In addition to the reduction of my resting heart rate, my time spent away from Vassar helped me connect with my family, specifically my 14-year-old brother. Jumping back into life with a high school freshman is truly a change in perspective. To adequately explain this, I have to elucidate a couple key aspects of Thaddeus’s personality (yeah I don’t have the weirdest name in the family). Firstly, he is the Vine app incarnate. At one point this summer, my grandmother had to wrest a water bottle from his hands to prevent him from continuing to toss it on her counter. He dabs on average bi-hourly. He also has injected his rhetoric with the lingo of British gaming YouTubers, including phrases like “No scope,” “You mad?” and “I rate that.”
Despite all the evidence pointing to the contrary, I truly and unequivocally love spending time with my brother. Not surprisingly, he further reveals my already glaringly obvious immaturity. While we were playing “Mario Kart” over this break, my mom had to come upstairs and tell us to stop screaming so much. In the past my brother served as a way for me to trickor-treat and play with Legos for far too long. When I trick-or-treated at age 16 as Superman, I used my boyish looks and the horrendous pun of “Supervising” Thad to obtain absurd amounts of chocolate.
This break however, Thad drew on the maturity he has learned from almost half of freshman year of high school to give me some advice about how to approach my finals. As I stepped out of the car at the train station to return to Poughkeepsie and my responsibilities as a student and an editor, he gave me a priceless piece of advice: “Find time to dab every day.”
This sentiment was very helpful. The injection of a celebratory gesture such as the dab into collegiate life would serve as a way to reward yourself for work well done. Turn in a prelab? Hit the dab so the security staff can see it on the bridge building camera. Dab when you feel the vibration of the email confirmation for a submitted Moodle assignment. In reality, the advice to dab every day can be interpreted as “find something to obnoxiously celebrate every day.” If something as menial as flipping a water bottle warrants this type of celebration, surely a well executed footnote deserves acknowledgment via this type of gesture.
Other aspects of early high school culture could be useful for finals completion as well. For example, for me one of the highlights of early high school was an utter lack of a social life. Why not revert to that reclusive lifestyle now?
This follows along with the lack of social life idea, but back in early high school, I had an exemplary, DARE-approved attitude toward drugs and alcohol consumption. If only I could see that lion mascot in my head every time I felt the temptation to switch to irresponsible behavior when an assignment is going slowly. Next time I find the word count of my paper is 420, I won’t start thinking about narcotics, but rather follow in my brother’s footsteps and audibly make the sound of an air horn before returning to my studies.Overall, in a time of the year where we are forced to finish so many tasks as quasi-adults, it is best to let off steam in brief, immature outbursts, as opposed to long periods of procrastination. I hope that I and all of you can find something worthy of a dab at every stage of your preparation for finals.