With warm, sunny temperatures and springtime weather having made its debut recently, my imagination has fast-forwarded. I’m envisioning a balmy spring term, my final one here at Lawrence, sprawling out on Main Hall green, listening to open-air concerts during LUaroo, and just generally relaxing with friends. It’s a good vision to hold on to because it allows me to ignore the ever-amassing quantity of presentations and papers that I have to write in the next couple of weeks along with the utter lack of job applications I have filled out and the whopping absence of any conclusion I’ve come to regarding what happens in June. Sunny weather does one a lot of good, of which evading responsibility while maintaining an unrealistic sense of optimism is not the least.
My sense of time then, and whether or not I have enough of it, is important. Perceiving I have enough time to, say, write and present upon a 12-page research paper prevents my being overly stressed out. However, when that window of opportunity passes, it becomes equally important to convince myself that my perception of time is flawed, and that cramming it all in is something I am fearlessly capable of. In this way, a flexible sense of time is paramount in assuaging massive panic and curbing frequent existentialist crises.
As the term winds down now, so does my certainty that time is something that I have enough of (along with my ability to lie to myself). Its seemingly abstract boundaries are now so sufficiently narrowed down that they fit on the calendar. Needless to say, it is suddenly much easier to understand my time as a student as numbered in days that can be checked off with a nameable, knowable end date. Because when Spring Term starts, I’m out of “next years” or “next terms” and must resort to an abstract and indefinable sense of “after Lawrence”.
That is not to say that I am heartbroken to move on to a new and different place complete with a room of my own and a kitchen to use. Far from it. But it is hard to imagine arriving at that place when I haven’t yet figured out my path to getting there. I don’t have a job secured or some grad school application acceptance that tells me what I’m doing next, yet there is something unique in knowing when my current situation and identity as a student ends without a replacement having been determined. This is a small sense of freedom that I can get behind as I work on crawling my way out from under the deadlines and due dates of the next few weeks, a small sense of wonder as vibrant yet fleeting as our sunny days.