Friday, December 05, 2003

Shifting Attitudes

The end of the semester is now rapidly approaching and I can feel everyone’s tenseness levels starting to rise. You can always see a slight change in people’s dispositions when finals time rolls around. Some people are more on edge, some try harder to get away from their studies, while other simply disappear to the depths of the libraries and computer labs. Over the years I’ve noticed that I seem to fall into each of these categories simply depending upon my mood for the day. I’m amazed at how inconsistent I feel about things during these last few weeks. One moment I can’t wait for Christmas break to be here, the next I dread the thought. One day I may ramp up my dedication to doing my homework while the next I will try to avoid class and homework as if their presence would somehow cause me physical pain.

Yesterday actually managed to be a day of both ends of the spectrum. While I was at work I did my readings and writing assignments for class and looked over some things for my later class. I paid attention and participated heavily in my first class, but then my attitude shifted. I went to lunch and napped and from that point on I was done. I made it to my afternoon class, but I felt disinclined to participate and all I could do was clock-watch. A class that was usually very interesting simply turned into a prison sentence of 70 minutes. At the beginning of the semester I would never have thought of my law class in this way, but the end of the semester brings about such odd feelings and notions.

After class my focus did nothing but wane. I got home and cleaned up my room a bit, threw in my laundry and went to a meeting for next week’s presentation in my business ethics class. We went over the case (the Challenger shuttle explosion) for a little while, but it soon became apparent that all three of us were in the mindset that homework couldn’t hold our attention. I figured that I wouldn’t be able to focus on my homework after the meeting so I went to run and lift, which I hoped would clear my mind. It didn’t. I got back, showered, and tried to do some work because I knew I needed to get it done. I managed to finish it, but not without a boatload of effort poured into it. Reading that I usually found engrossing was hard to focus on, and I sometimes needed to read things twice that I usually wouldn’t have.

I don’t know what it is, but these last days of the semester have some type of intoxicating effect upon students. Maybe it’s the thought of freedom from homework that comes with Christmas break. Maybe it’s the added pressure of finals that breaks our concentration. I don’t really know what it could be, but I do know that whatever it is it changes people, myself included.

Since I mentioned Christmas above and since I’ve talked about needs the last couple of posts, I’ve had the holidays on my mind. I love the season of Christmas, but there is definitely one thing that drives me crazy about this time of year—Christmas music. Many people love it, but I can’t stand it. As soon as I started to hear Christmas carols and pop renditions of Christmas songs coming over the radio, before thanksgiving was even here nonetheless, I started to cringe. Every pop star—good and bad—comes out of the woodwork to do some version of their favorite Christmas song. Considering I hate almost all pop music and I dislike most Christmas music, the combination of the two often drives me slightly homicidal.

Why can’t we all just agree to play Christmas music during the week of Christmas and not before. Usually by the time Christmas even gets here everyone is sick of the same bland Christmas tunes that they’ve been hearing for over a month. If we only played them during the week of the holidays, we wouldn’t be so sick of them (and I might actually be able to tolerate a Christmas song or two). As it stands now, however, every time I hear a Christmas song outside of a few days before the actual day of Christmas I just want to vomit.

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