Today is a beautiful, almost magical day. I woke up and the sun was out and I could hear birds chirping outside and there was a lovely breeze coming in my window. It felt like the first time any of these things have happened in millennia, if they ever happened at all before.
I imagine that if the old maps had been right when they filled in the edges with fantastical drawings and said ‘here there be Monsters’ this is what it would feel like to have gone off the edge of the map…and then come home again. Given a bit of rest and an undisclosed number of drinks, the improbably-returned explorer feels safe enough to tell what she saw. But the more she recounts it the more it sounds too strange, too bizarre and unreal. And she wonders if maybe she never went anywhere at all during those weeks off the map.
Maybe she just temporarily lost her mind and, now that it’s been stitched back together, everybody is humouring her. So the explorer says “I saw a water-dog-dragon! It was long and scaly and had legs with claws but also fins and it swam! And it had a head like a dog!” And everybody says “of course you did, dear” and the explorer knows that nobody believes her. And she begins to wonder: did it really happen? I saw it, didn’t I?
Friends, I have been off the edges of the map. This is what I saw.
1. A student tired of sitting at her desk, who stacked her casebooks on it and perched her laptop on top of it to create a ‘standing desk’. It seemed to work until she needed a casebook and spent twenty minutes frantically searching, wondering how on earth she had managed to lose every important book she owned at once.
2. The same student who, having placed a folded exercise mat under her feet while standing at her desk, suddenly thought it would be a good idea to do balancing poses ‘since I’m here anyway’. I still don’t have the strength to talk about what happened next. Don’t study and do yoga at the same time. Just don’t.
3. Multiple students who were so tired that when one of them described a small squash as a ‘squish’ they collectively dissolved into uncontrollable laughter and couldn’t stop.
4. Those same students who, upon being shown an adorable picture of a tiny turtle eating a strawberry, could only see that the turtle was eating the strawberry the wrong way around and was in for a world of disappointment when its first bite turned out to be nothing but stem and no strawberry at all.
5. An entire class who, when the prof told them the 24-hour take-home exam questions were designed to just take three or so hours, allowed themselves to believe for a few moments that it was true.
6. 24 hours later, those same students collectively panicking when they all realized they could answer complex questions on law school exams but had no idea how to insert the written work cover page into their document so they could actually submit the answers.
7. One worn out student tired of typing, telling her laptop out loud that if it doesn’t show her a cat on a Roomba right this minute things are about to go very, very badly for it.
8. That same student, when the laptop’s Internet freezes in apparent retaliation to her threats, apologizing profusely and begging it to keep working just a couple of days longer.
9. 1L students all showing up for their last exam to be greeted by upper years with M&M’s that are inexplicably shaded violet and pale blue, and have portraits of their profs printed on them.
I would have thought it was all a bizarre, exhausting dream. Except that I still have the M&M’s, so it must have happened. Incidentally, since when is getting random pictures printed on M&M’s a service you can get and why didn’t I know of this before?
Also: congratulations to all the wonderful 1Ls who braved this strange and terrifying landscape with me. WE DID IT!