six-day breaks

an insider’s take on ditching class

In 11th-grade history, I participated more in a class period than half of my classmates did in the whole year. (I’m looking at you, Sarah Wizialowski—close the laptop and open your fucking ears!). In 12th-grade English, I would wax eloquent on my interpretation of a book which I had not, per se, purchased.

Then I got to college, and I wanted to be the kid who didn’t have to go to class. So I stopped going.

Well, I should clarify: I went to five lectures last semester. In those few hours of lecture and few hundred of free time, I learned a lesson: Go to class.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. You might wonder, as many did, what I filled my days with when I wasn’t in class. I’ll admit that there were some days when I wondered that as well. So here’s the blow-by-blow.

2 p.m.: Wake up. Not bad. I can still see the sun (spoiler alert: I may see it emerge again before my day is over).

2 p.m.: Netflix on the phone. The computer would be more pleasant, but it is out of arm’s reach and I am having none of that.

3 p.m.: Get out of bed. Bored and lonely so I knock on my friend Monica’s door. No answer.

3:05 p.m.: Starving, I vow to shower and then get pho from Andrews for lunch.

3:30 p.m.: Get out of the shower. I’ve missed pho, so I will have to endure my hunger until my next wave of motivation (~2 days, depending on whether there’s a new season of “New Girl” on Netflix).

4 p.m.: Knock on Sophia’s door. No answer. What are these people doing all day?

4 p.m.: Fuck it, let’s do some work.

4:04 p.m.: Netflix, round two.

5 p.m.: Phone at 5 percent. Seems like a sign from the universe. I ignore it.

5:15 p.m.: Stomach is trying to escape from my body and forage for food on its own. I ignore it.

5:30 p.m.: Group Facebook message organizing dinner. That’ll do the trick.

6:30 p.m.: Get back from dinner. Computer Science homework is due tomorrow at midnight. What an interesting non sequitur.

6:40 p.m.: Surely Maria must be back in her room. Knock on her door. No answer. These people have been gone for hours. You’d think that one of these days one of the three of them would be in the dorm. They have what, three hours of class each day? Where do they go for the other five? Is there just some giant orgy that I’m not aware of? Or maybe I’m living inside a cartoon trope wherein they slide past me as soon as I turn my back on their doors. If I swing around and yell, “Gotcha!” will they be there, shouting “Aww, man!” as the end credits scroll quickly in front of them?

6:45 p.m.: See frantic posts on the CS Facebook page asking questions about the intricacies of the implementations of concepts I’ve never heard of before. Seems like a problem—better get started.

7 p.m.: It seems like this assignment will take me at least 24 hours. It’s due in 29. That’s interesting. Eh, sleep is overrated.

This is where things get dark.

7 p.m.-Midnight: Get some work done. Just some basic code, but it’s some hard shit. The assignment keeps mentioning all these things from class, and I may begin to regret my life decisions. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Midnight-1 a.m.: Netflix. I’ve earned it.

1 a.m.-4 a.m.: More CS. This isn’t looking so great. I start hopping around to different parts of the assignment when I can’t figure something out. That can’t be efficient.

4 a.m.-6 a.m.: I’m fading pretty fast. I get a part of the assignment done, but I know I have more than 16 hours left, and only 18 before the assignment is due.

This is where things get light, but in a dark way.

6 a.m.-6:30 a.m.: My room is getting brighter. I look outside, and I know the sun will be up soon. Time for a nap.

9 a.m.: Wake up. Take another look at how much work I have left. It’s a lot. Time to think about turning it in late, or maybe incomplete.

9 a.m.-6 p.m.: Get half of it done.

6 p.m.-6:30p.m.: Grab food.

6:30 p.m.-7 p.m.: I have 4 other classes, right? I could drop…

7 p.m.-Midnight (second try): Cobble together some semblance of a computer program. Submit it. As I pass out, I think to myself, “I deserve a six-day break.”

I want to be the kid who doesn’t have to go to class. But that’s a hope, not a goal. If I want to be impressive, then I should go to my fucking class. I should go to my class and then I should go to my section afterwards and if the teacher has office hours I should go to them too. I should want to become the kid who doesn’t have to go to class, because that’s a goddamned goal. I should go to class if only so I can get ahead of myself.

Because Netflix is calling out to me, and I would really like a break.