28 Thoughts Students Had During Syllabus Week

28 Thoughts Students Had During Syllabus Week

"I need a vacation."
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Remember syllabus week?

You probably had some of these thoughts:

1. Is this class always going to be so boring?

2. How do I already have so much work?

3. Could this week be going by any slower?

4. I could still be asleep right now.

5. Should I leave for class a couple minutes early to find the building/room?

6. Nah, I'll figure it out.

7. This professor is way too excited about an 8 A.M. lecture.

8. Is it socially acceptable to go out every night this week?

9. Of course it is.

10. I did not miss the dining hall food at all.

11. Why has this professor been talking about the syllabus for a full hour?

12. We already have homework due next week?

13. I need a vacation.

14. Oh no, it's that person I successfully avoided all of last semester.

15. Why is he/she staring at me? Can I help you?

16. I should transfer classes (or schools) to avoid this awkwardness.

17. Is it time to go to bed?

18. Do I really need this 8 A.M. lecture?

19. I miss my dog.

20. I miss my bed.

21. I miss my freedom.

22. Wow, two 'discussion' sections in one day. Fun. Can't wait to voice my opinion on 17th-century philosophers.

23. I need to go out tonight.

24. Actually, I need to get more than three hours of sleep tonight.

25. I'm ready to start learning actual course material.

26. This class isn't as bad as I thought it would be.

27. I need to go out.

28. Cheers!

Cover Image Credit: GCSU

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Running a Marathon Taught Me Gratitude

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Last May, just four days before my senior prom and one week before graduation, I ran a marathon. Born from a hasty commitment in December, I completed those 26.2 miles on a misty summer morning. It seems to me that as I move forward in time, I feel the need to complement the shift with movement through space. The space I chose was a relatively flat expanse in Cleveland, Ohio. Along the course, I witnessed the water of Lake Erie and buildings fade into the cloud cover that lasted for the duration of the race. It was very challenging, and I was very afraid I would fail. I completed the race.

My months of training have revealed the strength of my body to me. On every long run, and every time I become lucid of my feet hitting the pavement and the absurdity of it all, I become more grateful that I have a body capable of dealing with my mind and a mind capable of dealing with my ambition. I knew little beyond my own life when the concept of mindful gratitude was introduced to me, and I could not comprehend my luck. I had no perspective on life, mine or otherwise, therefore I do not think I came easily into gratitude. Good things felt normal and bad things felt undeserved. I consider my journey into gratitude one of the most important transformations of my teenage years. While I came to this realization before my marathon training ensued, the process I endured supplied me with ample time to reflect on life and running and human motivation. What began as thankfulness for my body now includes an appreciation for the spaces available to me for running, the time I have free to dedicate to training, and the efforts of our ancestors that yield the ability to run for hours. I am grateful for all we scientifically understand about running such as VO2-maxes and physics that account for everything down to the curve of a pinky toe. I am grateful for everybody who recognizes running as meditation. I am grateful for the holiness of flesh and the choice I have in how to use my body.

In my experience, running is a source of control. Throughout my life, I have sought control in many forms, many of them harmful to myself or others. Eventually, running became a response to chaos. I felt that many of my problems stemmed from society--the deep-seated concepts that I cannot see toppling ever, especially not in my lifetime. For a long time, I was overwhelmed by the presence of patriarchal underpinnings in close to every aspect of life. I sought refuge in places of wilderness. A popular figure of speech, especially for male environmentalists, is that the earth is "virgin" and "fertile" until man "rapes" it. I have spent a lot of time thinking about how this colloquialism. Few things are more arrogant. "Rape" goes much deeper than the legal definition. It means humiliation and ruin. While one human may or may not have this power over another human, it is pure hubris to think any man or farming machine can wield this power over the earth. Our history goes back far enough to know that man is far more temporary than nature, and that where civilizations of humans die, nature quickly reclaims her power. Running gave me a way to connect with this nature, and in turn connect with its power. Few things are more graceful than nature waiting patiently for humans to either learn or perish. For this example, I am forever grateful.

The human body is meant to run. The ligaments in our feet, narrower midsections, strong glutes, and short toes are biological evidence of it. While I was running Cleveland, I could not help but feel every muscle in my body working. Our lineage is amazing. I cannot comprehend how many miles our ancestors have walked and run. I thought about the journey of Pheidippides from Marathon to Athens. I thought about the tradition of competition. I wanted to run a marathon to take my place in this tradition of travel and racing. While human history is one of conflict and largely darkness, there is also glory. Many of the signs fans held up around the course emphasized this, encouraging runners to "forget the miles, remember the glory." I ran alongside 15,000 others, and we advanced together in grace and gratitude.

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