Thursday, August 26, 2010

Course Overload #12: "Spring Broke"

They tell you it’ll be restful. They tell you that you’ll get to spend some quality time with mom and dad. They even tell you that some people get to go to Cancun.

And they’re all lying.

I’m speaking, of course, of spring break. I’ll bet you have fond memories of previous spring breaks. You know, the ones from grade school, where you woke up and spent all day eating rainbows and riding unicorns. In fact, even I have a few great memories of spring break, like the time Bart, Milhouse and I rented a car and took a trip around the country. But, spring break has changed since then: We’re in college now, soldier!

I’ll be the first to admit that spring break looks good on paper. At the start of the semester, people inevitably look at their calendars and highlight all one of the days off colleges grant them. At this point, most of us are already coming up with excuses –my dog ate my laptop, a pack of wandering ninjas filled my dorm room with cream cheese, I have a horrible spleen disease that only affects professors and kills them very slowly – to get out of class. But lo! There’s always that giant week-long hole filled with those wonderfully deceptive words “spring break.”

Little did I realize the horrors of spring break in the days leading up to it. In fact, I was looking forward to it! (Poor, silly, unshaven creature!) I was finally going to watch some television, play the video games I haven’t opened since last Christmas, and catch up on sleep. Remember sleep? It’s what we used to do as children in-between annoying our parents and chasing our dogs with water guns. I wouldn’t even have to wear pants. It was going to be glorious.

When I woke up the first day of spring break, a horrible realization soon came flooding over me. It started out happily enough. I rolled out of bed at 2:30 in the afternoon, neglected to shave or put on pants, and went directly for the Playstation controller. This, in my world, is bliss. I imagine that heaven is much like I just described, only higher up in the clouds and with fewer insects and telemarketers.

I grabbed a familiar white package from my shelf, and stared at it for a moment. Ah, Final Fantasy XXXVII. I’d had that game for over a year and a half, and yet, it had never been opened. School somehow always got in the way. In fact, the sequel, Final Fantasy XXXVII-2, had already been released. But now was my chance to finally play the original.

So I opened the package and loaded it up. Written on the screen in big pretty letters was the phrase “Press start button.” I was happy to oblige. Then, the next screen pulled up. “In order to save your progress, you must insert a memory card. Also, did you check to see if you have any homework?”

Egad! I had forgotten to see if I had any homework. But no matter, it was spring break. I had an entire week to do homework… in my skivvies. And besides, how much homework could they possibly have given me?

Opening my little blue MSMC folder, I yanked out my syllabi. (No kids, that’s not some sort of body part; it’s the plural of syllabus.) First, ethics. I only had to read a few pages for that. And for marketing, I had to write a paper. That would normally be a problem, but it was spring break! I could do the paper later on in the week.

But something wasn’t right. I was beginning to sweat. As I reached for the third syllabus, my heart began to pound. “Bio. The homework for that one is never too diffi- Oh dear God. Clone a sheep.”

It was getting serious. I missed the class where we learned to clone sheep because I had been feeding and immunizing poor sick children in Bosnia over the weekend and I couldn’t make it back in time to go to that class. But it was okay. It was spring break, and I had an entire week to do it! If I started the next day, I could get it all done by the end of the week. At least I would have this one day to myself. I allowed myself a small smile.

But then, I realized that I had one last syllabus left in my hot little hand – the plays of Eugene O’Neill. Hopefully, all I’d have to do was read a play. Looking down, I read out loud, “In no less than 600 pages, prove the existence of God. Remember to cite all sources.” As the tears streamed down my face, I was formulating my plan. “I can do this. If I just get a Bible, and maybe if I go to the library now… Wait, what does this assignment have to do with Eugene O’Neill?” Through the tears, I looked down at the paper again. “Oh, here’s the connection. It has to be handwritten in Gaelic. Makes sense, considering that O’Neill was Irish, and… Wait, Gaelic?! Dear God!” I knew that the first sentence of my paper would be: “I know God exists because he hates me.” (Only it would be in Gaelic.)

Somehow, I finished it all. All, that is, except Writing for Mass Media. I overlooked the syllabus that day because I was crying too hard to see it. However, all that it said I had to do was read page 245 of the text. I found out Sunday night, and I was so tired, I figured I could get away with not reading it, just this once. So you can imagine how I felt on Monday when I heard we were having a test.

“This will count for 80 percent of your grade,” said my instructor.

“What’s the test on?” I asked, even though I already knew.

“Why, page 245 of your textbook, of course.”

Somewhere, in an insect-free place high in the clouds, angels were riding unicorns over Playstation-shaped rainbows and God was laughing at me.

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