You wake up on Tuesday having to mentally prepare yourself for the next two days. Walking through Turlington is already a hassle, but this week is unlike any other — it is Student Government election week, which means you have to perfect your “I’m definitely on the phone right now and not just pretending so you won’t talk to me” face. You’ve been planning to vote anyway, so being stopped in Turlington is not on the agenda for the day.
Opinion | Darts Laurels
It’s the day after Valentine’s Day, which means the day of love has come and gone just as quickly as that box of chocolates sitting on your dining room table. But today is even better because all things love-related are half off at Target. Were you eyeing that giant Reese’s heart-shaped candy but couldn’t possibly find a reason to buy it? Well, guess what? Today, it’s only $5 — an instant cop. This week was about showing everyone you love how much you care about them, with Galentine’s Day, Palentine’s Day and of course Valentine’s Day.
The sun and the heat are finally back where they belong in the Sunshine State, and it’s time to get back to business as usual — days beside the pool. You grab your towel and slide your sunglasses onto your face, making your way down to the pool. You slip into one of the reclining chairs that line the outside of the pool and begin to relax. Thoughts of midterms pushed firmly out of your head, the only thing on your mind is the shoreline that awaits you during Spring Break.
You wake up and immediately check the weather, suppressing a groan when you see it’s 38 degrees outside for the third day in a row. On the bright side, it gives you a reason to break out your Gator beanie that’s been collecting dust in the back of your closet.
It’s a short week and the sun is warm and shining down on Plaza of the Americas. The sweet sounds of guitars are playing in the air and friends are chatting on the lawn over their Krishna lunch. It is Spring semester, and the days are lazy and relaxed. The days seem to be moving just a little bit slower. You look over to your friends who are talking about their long weekend; and you begin to drown out the background noises. Your eyelids start to feel heavy as you soak in the warmth of the day.
It’s the second week of school, and everyone’s first week excitement has quickly diminished. Thoughts of skipping class are quickly creeping into the minds of students and the need for a distraction is becoming apparent. Monday is a holiday, which means our first break of the semester is just around the corner. You decide it’s the perfect chance to escape Gainesville and all the stress of a new semester.
A sense of nostalgia washes over you as you flip through your course syllabus. Seeing each old entry for past classes is like a punch to the gut. You flashback to artificial laughs at your professor’s corny puns. They weren’t quite comedy gold but more of a bland maize color. Your mind is called back to the material you wished you would be tested on again but never will be. You shed a single tear. The salty drop of sadness blots and distorts the ink, warping the rules you had been so intimidated by at the beginning of the semester.
You started Homecoming weekend by partying Friday night. It extended into Saturday morning, but the afternoon has already come calling. The sounds of tailgating and Homecoming weekend are beating down your door and begging to be let it in. These festivities wait for no Gator — they could not care less for your sleeping habits. You grumble to yourself and bunker your head under your pillow, but the fluffy shield doesn’t do much to dampen the subwoofers, excited yelling and the scent of hot dogs and hamburgers wafting through the window. You descend the stairs to investigate.
The front entrance to the Reitz Union swims in your vision as heat waves radiate off the light gray moonscape. “What better treat for a sweltering afternoon than an extra large frozen yogurt?” you think to yourself. What better time than now? Who more deserving than you, out of breath and minutes from heatstroke? A tepid bead of sweat leaves your scalp and wanders down your forehead. It nearly freezes solid when you break the airtight seal on the union doors and are blasted with chilled air. The delicate scent of Wendy’s fries begs you to keep walking, but you marshal your thoughts and step into the elevator. It gently pings and sends you downward.
It’s a lovely, overcast afternoon in Gainesville. The sun beats away fruitlessly at the clouds that shield the Earth from a tropical inferno. Floridian humidity fogs your glasses as you step off the bus. You stroll toward the heart of campus with a textbook cradled in one arm and your Instagram feed clutched in the opposite hand. You, shining monument to the millennial spirit, are the Statue of Liberty of twenty-somethings everywhere — the shining beacon of social media savvy. You float along the sidewalk still glistening from this morning’s rain. Headed to Library West, you pass through Turlington Plaza. A ghostly, pale figure stands stock-still in the center of the otherwise empty, red-bricked patio. He raises his arm towards you as you approach; in his outstretched hand is a small pamphlet. On its face, written in wispy white letters, a headline reads:
You’re settling down in Jellystone National Park, preparing for a nice “pic-a-nic.” Your paws unfurl a checkered blanket while your date unloads the contents of your basket: “Bluebeary” pie with honey, some ice-cold bruins and, of course, bear claws.
Graduation is a mere few weeks away, and you find yourself thinking, more often than usual, “How the heck did I get here?” You think back to unloading your parent’s car in the front of Broward Hall in the sweltering August heat, and you remember the nerves you felt as you walked into your first college lecture hall. It feels like just yesterday, right?
You’ve been refreshing your email inbox every five minutes since you woke up at 8 a.m., patiently (or not so patiently) waiting to hear back from the company you hope to intern for this summer. You’ve gotten other offers, but this one is really it — the one you’ve wanted since freshman year that you’re finally qualified enough for.