We’ve been back in school for something like a month. I’d know for sure if I looked at a calendar, but it doesn’t matter. What I do know is we’ve been back long enough for everyone’s New Semester Resolution to pay attention/take better notes/actually do the reading to fall by the wayside.
This happens every semester. Over break when grades came back we told ourselves we’d work harder, next semester would be different and better. Or we’ll keep up the good work, maybe step it up a notch, there’s always room for improvement.
We come to class early on day one. Even if we are better prepared versions of us, we still don’t want to get stuck in the first row or next to that guy.
We also come to class early on day two. If it’s Seating Chart Day, two minutes can make all the difference. On Seating Chart Day, we revert to 3rd graders at a school assembly, jostling each other and asking people if they can move down so our friends can sit by us. Someone always drifts in late (late by Seating Chart Day definition; early by week 3 definition) and appears mystified about the full classroom.
Week one passed relatively quickly while and we did the reading, the “discussion questions,” and took diligent notes. Week two started about the same—still doing the work, but motivation was fading fast. By the middle of the week, apathy had returned from the previous semester, encouraging the same tired rationalizations for lethargy.
“I made it through last semester like this; do I really want to try any harder?”
“I could just study more when we get to finals.”
“I have so much more to do now.”
“My classes are harder than last semester.”
“I deserve a break.”
With the onset of week three, the concept of preparation became as foreign as the Rule Against Perpetuities. Showing up to class with 30 seconds to spare, skimming the textbook and calling it sufficient, and using a former student’s old outline instead of reading the cases had all become common practice. We were back to spending the class watching the clock, whining on Twitter, and doing anything but listen.
It’s the same thing every semester. We’re worse than that friend whose annual New Year’s resolution is to join a gym. We make the same resolution twice as often, our “membership” is exponentially more costly, and we use it as an excuse for “not having time” to go to actually work out. (Look around your classroom. How many people do you see that look like they’ve even seen the inside of a fitness center?)
Welcome back: to the semester, the grind, the books, and the indifference.
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