This week passed rather quickly and smoothly. All my runs went well, including my 18-miler yesterday that included Parks half! Parks is one of my favorite half-marathons because it incorporates a lot of the trails I used when I first started running three years ago. #nostalgia
My classes have significantly picked up the pace, but as of now it isn’t anything I can’t handle. I have already made like 10 Quizlet sets and I do them when walking to class, the dining halls, and, of course, Smoothie King. Everyone thinks I am texting all the time but it’s okay. This week (tomorrow) will be my first Chem lab, which means I will be losing three hours of regular study time, and picking up more weekly homework (can you say lab reports?) I am hoping this will not throw me off balance. People online say that chemistry labs can be very difficult and stressful. I do not need any more difficulty or stress in my life at the moment.
There are a few things about college that irk me so far:
- the lack of a daily schedule. Like, I know what I’m doing and where I’m going every day, but I kind of miss having the exact same time constraints every day. I should have distributed my classes more equally; on Mondays, I have 1 hr 40 mins of class and on Tuesdays I have almost 7 hours. That’s hard.
- the noise level. I have always had a hard time understanding why young people feel the need to be so darn loud all the time. We get it, you are excited. But you are in an enclosed public space, and chances are, most people don’t want to hear you laugh-screaming. Also: a lot of girls here have yet to grow out of the “screaming because they think it’s cute” thing. In MOCO, girls stopped doing that in seventh grade or so. My next-door-dorm neighbor does not seem to have gotten the memo.
Now it’s time for some life lessons!
Life Lesson #1: Bikers are evil
All runners kind of already know this to be true. Athletes (and triathletes) who are primarily cyclists are usually not the nicest people around. Of course, there are exceptions, and we should all be weary of sweeping generalization. I did not know, however, that this “rude cyclist” stereotype extended onto my college campus.
On a brief sidenote: I believe that people who bike to class are lazy. They are just like people who take the bus. They are too “tired” or “sore” to walk 15 minutes, so they don’t. Lazy. They actually brag about how much “exercise” they are getting in, as if 5mph biking burns any more calories than walking up Stamp hill.
Ok, back to the main argument. Bikers on my campus are the worst. They love to cut off pedestrians, they don’t stop at stop signs, and they weave in-between people on the sidewalk like motorcyclists in traffic. They are not only annoying but arguably constitute a safety hazard. Case in point: the first week of her freshman year, my peer mentor was hit by a biker on the sidewalk and broke her tailbone. The biker rode away.
Life Lesson #2: People my age rarely think ahead
There is a good chance that this rule applies to most human beings that are not me. I read an article yesterday morning about how guinea pigs perceive time (the short answer is that they don’t), and it detailed the way, when given more food than necessary, guinea pigs will eat it all at once. They don’t think “Hey, I might need some of this later. I should save half.” They just eat it all. What I am saying is that people my age are guinea pigs.
College students have very little insight past the next day or week. Sure, they’ll tell you they want to be something lofty like a doctor or a lawyer, but they don’t think about how their current actions will or will not get them to that level of success. They see the future as something very distant that they can think about later on down the line.
This is one of the many things that isolates/alienates (both words probably too strong) me from my peers. I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again: I am a 30 year old lady in the body of a college student. I go to bed early so I can adequately conquer the next day. I don’t procrastinate so as not to make my life suck later. I stage clothing for future events. I do the one thing that guinea pigs don’t: I pack food for later because I might be hungry.
Other people my age benefit from my preparedness but are rarely inspired to become more prepared themselves. They ask for snacks when they are hungry, for my portable charger when their phones are dying, for my water when they fail to refill their own. They reap the benefits of the Quizlets I spend hours on. They do all this while saying “I wish I could be more like you.” But what’s stopping them? What makes people my age cling to the arbitrary college student stereotype so readily? No one is making you be lazy and unprepared. You are CHOOSING to be lazy and unprepared. It is not a personality flaw; it is a lack of agency. Self-sufficiency is not simply living on your own and doing a load of laundry once a month. Self-sufficieny is restructuring your locus of control to be internal. Self-sufficiency is taking responsibility for your health, your academics, your actions. It is being a person who can see how their behavior shapes their future opportunities.
I don’t know when people typically learn these skills but I would love to see them more widespread in my peer group. Too many friends of mine are so quick to blame failure on external, uncontrollable factors that they never consider that they themselves might be at fault.
Life Lesson #3: Sometimes it is better not to let people know the extent of your “extreme lifestyle”
This life lesson is somewhat linked to the last. Because the majority of America is lazy and unprepared, they are not ready for people like me or my dad or other hardcore athletes or vegans. We make them feel insecure and inadaquete. We make them question the things they counted as accomplishments. It’s why people call Katie Ledecky ugly and say marathon running will ruin your body: they are mad you are doing things they will probably never do.
My whole life I have leaned toward extremity in one way or another. Extreme overreactions, obsessions, schedules, exercises. “Extreme” diet, “extreme” wake-up time. I no longer see what I do as extreme. I used to be an average person who stayed up til 2 or 3 am and got up at 9 or 10am and got C’s in math. I know what it’s like to be that person. And I know without question that I enjoy being this person, the person I am now, more than being that person.
In addition, if I made the transformation into what I am now, one can more or less conclude that the transformation is an attainable one. It’s doable. I know, I did it. But, like I ranted about above, people resist positive changes and cling to what they think they are “supposed” to be doing. So, I do not display my extremity front and center. I do not bring up running or veganism with nonrunner nonvegan friends, although I’ll talk about it when asked. When I shower in the mornings at like 8am, my hallmates don’t know that I’ve been up since 5 and I already read 20 pages of my textbook, ran 8 miles, and lifted at Eppley. They don’t know and they don’t yet need to know.
People find out eventually. They respond in a variety of ways. As time passes, though, they realize I am the same person they knew before. I am just spend a little more time exercising and a little more time sleeping than they assumed based on the college stereotype. They get used to it and I let them. There is no reason for me to constantly share how wonderful running is, how easy veganism is because they are not ready to change.
And, of course, I do not do what I do for external praise. I do what I do because I love it and it makes me feel good.
On a completely nonrelated note, look at how muscle-y my leg looks in this race photo from yesterday:
Ok, blog, see you next week!