Here at Simon's Rock College, we have a group called CHI (Campus Health Initiative) that likes to do nice things for us overworked, underpaid college students. Some times they give us food, sometimes entertainment, sometimes information. But the week before finals every semester they give us toys. My first semester we all got 'Stress Peppers': You know those squishy-styrofoam type toys, like lifeguard tubes or those funky space age pillows? Yeah, they were squishy red peppers made out of that stuff. Some people thought they were excessively phallic, but I guess that's to be expected on a liberal college campus.
The next semester we all got little sticky flingy hands; the kind you got for a quarter at the All-You-Can-Eat buffet when you were eight. They were thoroughly entertaining, until they all disintegrated and ended up in random places around campus. Last semester we got fruit leather. I don't know whose idea that was, but I'm pretty sure they got expelled or maybe laughed at. This semester someone must have had a stroke of genius, because everyone found Silly Putty sitting in their mailbox, and everything was right with the world. Overdue papers, impending finals, family problems all disappear when you've got some Silly Putty. It's true.
Silly Putty is so freakin' cool. It stretches, flows, pops, molds, bounces, even shears. And no matter what you do to it, you can always roll it back into a ball and stick it back in it's egg (assuming you haven't lost it, which you have, but you'll find it later). What kind of substance can possibly be so versatile? You throw it at a wall and it comes right back. You pull it apart fast enough and it breaks, you pull it apart slow enough and you can stretch it out twenty times its original length. And if you let it sit for a while it oozes into a perfect blob.
I've given two years of my life to this place. I remember when I came here, thinking I was set: fifteen and in college, what more could I want? What more could there be? I got to skip high school, to go to college with 300 other smart, young kids, and I didn't have to deal with my parents anymore, I could do whatever I wanted. I was practically bouncing off the walls. That first semester was the longest 4 months of my life. I met so many new, fun, interesting people who would actually spend time with me. I was taking courses that required more time than the hours between midnight and whenever I got tired (not to say that didn't happen... every day...). I had so many ideas of what I'd do if I would do: I was gonna drop those extra pounds, get a girlfriend, be mezzo-popular and mega-brilliant. People would flock to me for my captivating mathematical prowess. I would hand in all my homework early and get 8 or 9 hours of sleep a night, depending.
Well, here I am, no thinner and no more productive than I was before I left home. I still stay up too late, and I still spend more time in front of a computer than other human beings. What happened? you're asking. Nothing happened. This is exactly how it had to be. I had to go through the stagnation to learn how to motivate myself. Isn't that the real point of college? It's not about teaching you how to solve differential equations; it's about teaching you to want to, and to want to do so to the best of your ability. It took me two years to figure out how to function at school and away from home, and I consider that a pretty good deal. Here's what I got:
- Don't think so much. The more I sit and think about something the further I get from understanding it.
- Know what you want. Once I know what I want, I'll also know how to get it.
It's been two years, and now I'm gonna graduate and transfer to Brown and start all over again. I feel like I've learned so much here, how could I possibly screw up? Brown is just like here, only bigger. More people, more activities, more classes, more fun. But I have no way of making sure that I don't just fall into the same old routines. I guess that's what friends are for, eh?