February slump: how to survive until Spring Break

MADELEINE LUCCHETTI | OPINION COLUMNIST | mlucchet@butler.edu

It’s February in Indiana. Nine out of 10 people on this campus are nose-deep in Kleenex, dragging their Bean-Booted feet to class through the slush that never fully melts. No amount of CeraVe will save our dehydrated skin; no amount of prayers send class cancellations into our Outlook inboxes.

Why do we get up in the morning? Why not hibernate with a sickeningly-sweet latte in our twin-size dorm bed, drooling on ourselves until Netflix’s “Are You Still Watching?” prompt makes us self-conscious?

No doubt, this phenomenon has roots in most professors’ stringent attendance policy. But something in the water keeps us up and running. Maybe, that Butler’s vibe attracts a very specific tribe: typically, people with ambition to spare — haunted by tuition bills climbing in the high five-figure range.  

Temperatures drop but students march on. I’m curious to know why, so I asked for candid thoughts from the congested minds of campus-wide Dawgs.

Kasey Kirchner is a junior English writing major and finds that a balance of caffeine and serenity make for peaceful mornings.

“What keeps me going? Knowing that 3 days a week I get to drink coffee in bed and write nonsense in total silence before class,” Kirchner said.

If, like Kasey, you can catch a few moments without the screech of campus construction noise, drink that in along with your coffee. These precious moments, sans headache, are few and far between.

And writing, for lots of us, is like a less-dangerous juice cleanse. If you keep at it, you’ll see toxic grammatical errors are flushed, without making you feel woozy. And therapeutic writing is easier to digest than apple cider vinegar in the morning.

Katherine Shelton is a senior English major and theatre minor who fights the struggle with finding daily motivation.

So this is kind of an intense question for me, because most days I actually don’t want to get out of bed and actually feel like I can’t and it’s not worth it, etc. I have that whole ‘too too solid flesh’ thing happening all the time,” Shelton said.

“So, it’s not super healthy or inspirational. But what gets me out of bed is not disappointing others: family, professors, friends. I’m so close to the end now. I don’t want to muck it up.”

Sadly, Katherine’s thoughts aren’t atypical of overburdened college students. Especially in a smaller-sized university, expectations are placed upon individual students that aren’t demanded in larger schools. Not only are we supposed to show up for class, plenty of instructors base grading off a student’s verbal input during class conversations, igniting misery in introspective kids.

Getting out of bed before the sun is probably against human nature, anyway. Natural selection still hasn’t seemed to weed out those irritating early risers (looking at you, six am spin class psychos).

Travis Freytag is a junior studying actuarial science, and offered his wry thoughts on shaking morning grogginess.

“Driving in the freezing cold from my girlfriend’s house back to my house, before I go to class,” he said.

He said he also sees attending class as a financial obligation. Don’t we all? If you’re really crunching the numbers, schedule a 3.75 percent increase in your attendance rate, to match the totally justified spike in 2018-2019 tuition.

“Every actuarial class directly relates to a professional exam, so going to these classes is important in passing these [exams],” Freytag said. “Other classes, the ones that I’m taking just to get credit and move on, the motivation to go is that we pay a lot of money to go to Butler…might as well try to get the most out of it, and not let thousands of dollars essentially go to waste.”

Budgeting for educational expenses often necessitates enjoying the little things in life, i.e. the McDonald’s Dollar Menu.

Shannon Rostin is a senior strategic communication major inspired by the simple moments in her collegiate experience that drive her forward.

My roommates, McDonald’s Diet Coke and knowing I graduate in 108 days,” she said.

Ironically, it seems that “getting out of here” (by method of graduation, hopefully) is motivation enough to “get in there.” The marathon to graduation will leave you as pooped as the cardiovascular climb to the 3rd floor of Jordan.

A crisp diploma works as the carrot on a stick for most undergrads. But keep in mind a classically inspirational/cringeworthy Hallmark trope: it’s not about the journey, but the destination!

Helena Oliver is a senior studying dance arts administration. She uses a unique alternative to java in feeling less groggy.

“Doing my eyeshadow differently every morning. It helps me focus, wakes me up. It’s my morning coffee,” Oliver said.

For the price of a few Starbucks runs, you might as well buy a new Sephora palette or two. It’ll bring color to your face, without the caffeine shakes.

Sometimes, the toughest part of the day is getting vertical. It’s not shameful or lazy; it’s an epidemic, worsened by our high-pressure collegiate environment.

Though this wintery lack of energy is common, students’ respective solutions are unique. Whether it’s the sound of Spotify’s “Chill Vibes” playlist or coffee percolating, picking outfits or meal prepping, find what helps you gather yourself and refuel before each day begins. And get your flu shot.

In the words of Robin Williams’s “Dead Poets Society” mantra: “Carpe Diem. Seize the day.”

Go get ‘em, Dawgs.

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