It’s always the same stupid story, to the endless fascination of my brother: how my father donned his black ensemble, crept ninja-style into the dorm room and snuck out the door with the calculation-filled notebook of the most detested quantum physics geek. Around finals time, my dad whips out those old college references to give my brother some inspiration, some place in which to found his own plots. Not that my brother cheats on every final or scams every Chem dork, steals lunch money or hijacks copies of the SATs, but my dad likes to pass on this cockamamie wisdom again and again: that you do whatever it takes.
And we do. We make up weird little songs to memorize formulas, spend long nights curled around Tab cans, pop pills to improve memory (what is gingko biloba?) and occasionally, we copy. Or steal. Or plagiarize. Or cheat. And some of us, those fortunate enough to have a conscience, feel a little unsettled after we write the details on our (hopefully arid) palms, feel a little stupid constantly referring to the inked-on sides of our Converses for academic direction.
During finals week, I’m sure sales of energy gum and Vault drinks skyrocket, just as I’m sure the photocopier is particularly overworked. Suddenly, we find our butts physically attached to otherwise questionable lounge cushions; we sleep with the lights on and the music blasting. During finals week, we allow ourselves unusual behavior just to achieve some sort of condensed academic success.
And what about the rest of the months? We sleep (occasionally), we eat well (occasionally), we read (occasionally). We occasionally do what we are occasionally required to do, and we pass. We get alright grades. We write the papers when they’re requested, we report to class when required and we stay the hell away from those stained lounge chairs.
So what is it about finals that makes us academic train wrecks?
Maybe it’s the dark undertone of the word “finals”: as if Judgment Day is coming and we didn’t prepare our bomb shelter. Maybe it’s the neurologically unstable result of 16 espressos. Or maybe it’s just the allure of that black-as-night ninja suit.
Whatever it is, let it pass. Save your irrational behavior for the weekends, when dangerous drinks and lack of sleep are not only routine, but mandated. Sing nonsense songs in the shower, spend long nights curled around the toilet seat instead of the Tab can and steal the spotlight you otherwise forsake.
Save the dangerously unclean sofa cushions for those poor souls who don’t trust themselves enough to just let it be.
Or invest in black clothing. Fast.