My car died three times last week. The first time, it could’ve been anything that drained the battery. The second time that it went it was definitely the battery itself after years of wear. But, with a new battery in place, it wouldn’t start yet again. This third time? The dome light was left on. That insignificant light that you don’t even remember having, and only ever use if you happen to drop some chips in the backseat after dark on a road trip: the cause of my chaos.
While there are infinitely worse ways a week can go in the grand scheme of things, I think what did it for me—besides flinging insults in anger at an old, rusty car—was the jarring, incessant blare of the car alarm every time it slowly yet temporarily roared back to life. The whole thing felt fitting, really, as if the difficulty I had been feeling in getting back into this final phase of college was manifesting itself in ear-splitting blasts, both irritating and innumerable.
Besides feeling incredibly incompetent and only reinforcing my suspicion that I am nowhere near old enough to have any responsibility given to me, it was more or less the perfect way to explain my week. Although a routine has settled within the scheduled boundaries of class time and commitment and a quiet hush emanates, it is the calm before the thunderous boom of exams disrupts our rhythm and quickens our pace once again.
Because despite the sense of calm, there are still alarms that will go off without warning and constraints that aren’t neatly penciled in. Although these interruptions may not be quite literally blasting in your ears, they are a reminder to reassess and reevaluate, to step back and fine tune, to recharge your batteries and keep going.