November 6, 2011

Now I don't claim to be an "A" student, but I'm trying to be.

The hum of her laptop fan on her lap was almost enough to put her to sleep. She had been sitting in her over sized, brown plush chair for what seemed like days-laptop perched on her knees, papers and textbooks spread on the table and floor surrounding her. Piles of notes, notebooks band more pens and three ring binders than anyone should own in a lifetime added to the clutter, making the already small room increasingly claustrophobic.

The beginning of November always brought the worst of the semester. She was far enough into it that it had lost the novelty and excitement of the beginning, but not close enough to being done to be able to see the end. The parties many use to ring in the start of a new semester have subsided, and the street in the tiny student neighborhood she lives on is quiet. Even the least studious among them is holed up in a similar position to what she currently finds herself in.

She rereads the assignment. A rebuttal. 2500 to 3000 words. Any topic. It should be easy-2500 words is barely anything. It was the openness of "any topic" that was tripping her up. Her brain was too tired from the other tests, papers and projects she was either working on or just finished to even see straight, let alone pick a topic from the seemingly infinite possibilities.

Opening up her browser, she pulled up Google, which she had formed quite an attachment to this semester.

How did people even do homework with it? She often wondered.

She typed in "rebuttal essay paper ideas" and within seconds was provided with close to 500,000 links. She breathed a sigh of relief and clicked the first one. The page began to load and in bright red, bold letting across the top, the headline read "ANY PAPER, ANY TOPIC! Just $9.99!" It blinked enticingly, the long list of papers for sale organized by topic and word count waiting patiently underneath.

For a second she considered browsing, just to see what they had. She may be broke, but $9.99 seemed a small price to pay to have this paper off her mind. And would her teacher really know? She's probably grading hundreds...thousands even...

But her conscious kicked in and she went back to the previous screen.

She opened a word document and stared at the blank, white, simulated piece of paper, willing a topic to reveal itself and for 2500 words to come pouring out of her fingertips.

Unfortunately, it doesn't happen and the paper remains blank, save for the tiny black cursor, blinking rhythmically, tauntingly.

She gets up and walks over to the hanging wall calender. Every box is filled with something- birthdays, assignment due dates, the occasional social gathering.

Today is November 4th, definitely not the first Friday night she's spent in front of the computer and, she's sure, not the last.

She counts the days by number of assignments until she gets some time off. Three papers, 4 tests, 4 quizzes, one project.

Then... it's Thanksgiving. A glorious week long break from the stress of school-they only thing she will have to concern herself with will be the amount of turkey she can eat before the tryptophan catches up with her.

But for now, she must get back to work.

She stares back at the laptop, taking her place in the middle of the large chair. She tries to take a step towards it, but her feet keep her rooted.

First, she thinks with a yawn, I'll just take a nap.

This post is in response to a prompt at The Lightning and the Lightning Bug-Flicker of Inspiration #23- Time of the Season


May said...

Oh, I wish I could give you a hug! You definitely made me feel better about being so darned old!

Just as you can't imagine school without the internet, I can not image that ever present temptation that you describe here.

Best wishes pushing through!

Writerly Wanna Be said...

Congrats on being selected as the weekly writer. I hope your nap provided a topic. This too shall end!

Anonymous said...

"The beginning of November always brought the worst of the semester. She was far enough into it that it had lost the novelty and excitement of the beginning, but not close enough to being done to be able to see the end."

I remember those days so well from when I was a student, and I can see it so clearly now when my students reach that point, even though I teach at an institution that starts classes monthly.

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