Midterms, the American crisis, and the holiday season

Hi blog!

I am walking around the mini 1/10 mile track at Eppley like usual but the UMD cross country team is here running laps and it’s really annoying me because they are taking up all the lanes, including the walking lanes, and they start and stop suddenly and have left their water bottles against a wall in the middle of the track so there’s a huge traffic jam whenever they want to stop to get a drink. It’s all very dramatic. The good news is that I think they are leaving soon because they’ve been here at least 30 mins, and that’s like four miles in super speed running.

Last week ranks among the worst of my life but here’s the rundown:

  • had two giant mid-terms and I didn’t do well on one at all even though I studied nonstop for like two weeks
  • had to restart my running watch at a very inconvenient and stressful time
  • had to say no to Hamilton tickets because they conflicted with my chem lab and I know Lin would want me to put my education first
  • sprained my ankle and it hurt for a long time
  • had to emotionally cope with Clinton’s loss and Trump’s evil victory
  • had to run and bike with no iPad because I left it at home
  • went to a pre-med workshop that made me cry and have panic breathing for 2 hrs
  • got sick over the weekend
  • car battery died!!!!!
  • decorated my dorm for Christmas!
  • had to eat toast for dinner twice because the dining hall ran out of veggie burgers
This is how I feel
This is how I feel
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Beautiful
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This is Osmomd the tree, my bff
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Tbh just waiting for someone to steal my wreath
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Window decals!
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Stockings! P.s. my advent calendar comes in today!

As you can tell I had a rough week but I am okay and ready to move on! This week is a luxury because I have ZERO midterms and next week is Thanksgiving, which I consider to be the opening ceremony of the Christmas season (plus Moana’s coming out!). A week from today I register for classes so basically every day this week I have to log on to Testudo and check the availability for all my ideal classes. It is giving me pretty bad anxiety but it must be done. I also have to start my car a couple times to make sure it doesn’t spontaneously die on me on Friday. Finally, I need to start studying for final exams because they are only one month away and my grades are pitiful right now.

Here are some life lessons:

Life Lesson #1: My perception of my country is greatly shaped by where I live

I grew up in one of the best and most culturally diverse school districts in the nation. For my entire working memory, this has been my home. Now, I go to a huge and extremely diverse university that is in driving distance of several large, liberal, and diverse cities. My superiors, peers, and neighbors are generally well educated and tolerant.

I have never lived in an environment that was all-anything, be it all-white or all-Republican or all-intolerant. If I am being honest, I often forget that there are areas like this. I forget there are areas of people who see things completely differently than I do; I made the mistake of forgetting that many parts of my country were largely pro-Trump because those parts and cultures were so far removed from my realm of being.

Clearly, those areas of America made themselves known Tuesday night. Because this is my blog and I can say what I want, I will say that I am ashamed that so many areas of my country, my home, fail to see racism and misogyny as dealbreakers in a presidential candidate. Clinton’s emails are apparently a dealbreaker, but not Trump’s upcoming trial for the sexual assault of a minor. I don’t get that.

I will probably always see my way of living as the more enlightened one. To me and my peers, education and acceptance are cornerstones of life. They are expected behavior. Of course “different” does not mean “wrong”, but I’m not sure I will ever be able to endorse a way of life that revels in its own ignorance and fails to address issues of racism, sexism, bigotry, etc in its own people.

It is implied, then, that I feel the wrong president was chosen for the parts of my country that I identify with. That said, I am interested to see how Donald Trump will change and evolve in office; already he is backpedaling on some of the most central arguments of his campaign. In the meantime, I will do my best to spread a message of love and acceptace and use my innate privilege as a white college student to protect religious and ethnic minorities.

Life Lesson #2: Sure, Christmas is commercial now, but who cares?

This life lesson will be ten times more light and fun, I promise. As I touched on earlier, I put up the first phase of dorm Christmas decorations last night. Most people I talked to thought they were super cute and appropriate, but one or two complained that it’s not Christmas yet, so why I am decorating? This kind of people has always irked me. This is my room. My door. You don’t have to like it, but you shouldn’t complain about it to my face. If you’re THAT bothered by a few holiday door stickers two weeks early, clearly something else is going on.

I see no reason to wait until after Thanksgiving. While I love Thanksgiving, it’s not a holiday for which you can decorate a dorm. And it’s not a holiday that demands month-long celebrations and decorations. Christmas is. Getting back on campus Thanksgiving weekend will take long enough as it is–why try to put my decorations up then, too? And then what? I only get to see them for two weeks before I head home for winter break? I didn’t spend $13 at the dollar store to not get the most joy as possible out of my decor.

So that’s one of the most common complaints: holiday equity. They want me to let Thanksgiving have its time. The other complaint regards the commercialization of the Christmas season. These people don’t like excessive Christmas decorations because they take away from the true meaning of the holiday: Jesus. We’re talking about the “put the Christ back in Christmas” people. Here is how I feel about this movement:

If you want to have a super religious Christmas all about Jesus, go for it. But we no longer live in a society that enforces the original religious intent in everything; even atheists say the “God” part in the national anthem. Consumer culture has transformed Christmas in the same way it has transformed countless other holidays, including non-Christian ones like Hanukkah and Passover. There’s no going back on that now. Consumer culture is American culture; it is what feeds our economy. Secondly, I don’t understand why Christians want Christmas to be so darn exclusive. The “secular” versions of Christmas still has the overall message of family togetherness, goodwill, charity, love, etc. Why not let nonbelievers celebrate that aspect of Christmas without the Jesus part? I feel like the birthday boy would be fine with family togetherness and love and goodwill even for atheists and (gasp!) Jews.

So Christmas isn’t what it was 150 years ago. That’s okay. Half the fun of Christmas is the commercial stuff: Santa Coca Cola ads, goofy carols, terrible movies, snowflake pajamas, new toys that you use for a day and then forget about. It’s all part of the joy of the season; the season that, while increasingly commercial, still commands the highest rates of donations and charity work among Christians and non-Christians. So I’m cool with it.

That’s all for this week, blog!

See you next week

Emily G.

Page with Comments

  1. The upside of a Trump presidency is already evident. People are more overtly supporting those who feel threatened. More people realize that they need to get personallyour involved with charities and local politics.

    This could be the wake up call liberals needed!

  2. My thoughts:
    $13 goes a long way at the dollar store
    Jesus would be happy people are being nice
    Lin is proud of you
    So am I
    Xoxo

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