8: breakdown month

Every semester of school I am shocked by how difficult the last full month before the end is. No matter how long I’ve been in school — and it’s been years — I am still surprised by the exhaustion and fragility that becomes the norm in November and April. I suppose if I remembered all of the time how terrible it can get I would have more trouble convincing myself to come back — it’s a clear case of protective amnesia. Because November and April are what I like to call breakdown months. My stomach problems flare (I’ve got an ulcer right now), my ability to perform basic survival necessities like sleeping and eating takes a frightening plunge, and I find myself bursting into tears at the most awkward of moments. I had to leave partway through a Monday class to cry in a bathroom. My friend T., written about in the previous post, once proposed creating a club for those of us who frequently find ourselves crying in the campus bathrooms. We would spend the club money on pocket kleenex (because toilet paper and paper towels just add to the despair) and cigarettes and coffee (mental health funds). She and I were to be the founding members. Our friendship wasn’t formed in the English department bathroom, but it very easily could have been.

Our club could never be born out through official means, though: every campus-sponsored club is required to have open membership, and ours very clearly has strict entrance requirements. It would exacerbate the problem to be in a club with people who are dealing with school and life in a much more productive manner, the sense of inferiority that stems from comparing oneself with others would add pounds to the already massive amounts of pressure. Which isn’t a problem in November! That’s one good thing about it: everyone suffers. They must. I’ve got three papers due this coming Wednesday, and I know that everyone else on campus is similarly burdened. Great fellowship and camaraderie are forged by mutual suffering.

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~ by Not Alice on November 8, 2007.

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