09 November 2011

On Fall Semester

The realization went something like this:

The semester is almost over.
The semester is almost over!
The semester is almost over?

Everybody I have talked to recently has said the same thing: that this semester especially has transpired extremely quickly—four times faster than last fall, at least—and can you believe it? That it's almost Thanksgiving? And then finals? And then Christmas? And then...

Why has it flown by so quickly? Is everything just getting faster? Is it just me?
Last fall semester passed by much more slowly, it seemed. Maybe because I didn't know what I was doing, what I wanted, how it was all going to work out, if it was all going to work out—with school, with myself, with everything—so I sort of floated on the surface, waiting in slow motion.

Yet one year later when I've figured it out—or at least as much of it as I could—everything just whisks by in every form and from all directions and I can barely take hold of it when I want to stop it all and embrace it, every part of it. Why is it that when things get better they seem more transient? Maybe the most wonderful things derive their charm from their impermanence, lest they linger enough to pale with disenchantment. I think we have to marinate longer in those slow-going moments so we're more prepared to recognize and utilize and savor what is exciting and wonderful.

I wouldn't understand this if I'd plunged right into freshman year already knowing what I wanted and how I was going to get it, and I'm glad there's still a lot I don't know. It's the process of finding out, the act of coming to know that is the most joyful and significant, and I'd hate to miss out on that and "already know" from the start.

The semester is almost over!
That's the mentality I'm sticking with—the excited, fulfilled one.

(Just wish me luck as the week of reckoning befalls me—again, much sooner than anticipated. Funny how those research paper deadlines that hover innocently on the semester horizon seem to just fling themselves at you suddenly.)

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