My Bucket Of Parts: Cycle of stress can lead to doubts about college

At the end of some weeks there are times we run, screaming, from academia. We throw on our running shoes, kick up dust and flail our arms, escaping the cruel reality of being - as they call it in Tennessee - "learned."

Milk-curdling hollers and wails echo throughout campus at the end of each Friday - after the 11 a.m. siren - and there are traces of blood on the sidewalks of campus.

By the end of the week, I just want to throw in my towel and call up Sally Struthers to see if she has any of those degrees handy.

"Call this 1-800 number at the bottom of the screen, and with a few easy steps, even you can become a doily-maker, a cashew taste-tester or even a film critic!"

Alas, I'm here to be "learned" on how to become a teacher - which wasn't my first choice, of course. Just like any other student (after weeks of denial), I told myself I was happy with my major and that I would never change it. Since then, I have changed it three times - my hands cramp up in lieu of anymore of that awful paperwork. Is this what I have to look forward to in life? Paperwork?

Sally...? Where are you?

Does anyone else throw tantrums? I know I do. Who said the "terrible twos" were over? It's time now for the terrible 20s. I sit in front of my computer, ready to put my Burger King paper crown on my head because I survived another cruel night of being "learned" and then it hits me. I have one more thing to do.

I scream expletives. I get up from my chair and stomp my feet, hit furniture, hit myself, hit my roommate and begin to see colors because I'm not breathing. Then, I get down on my knees and beg for deliverance from this wicked beast that has attached its cruddy paws to my being.

After an hour of sobbing and procrastinating, I finally begin my last bit of homework. Within 10 minutes, I'm finished. What? I wasted an hour thrashing around like an 80s rock singer and the assignment only took me 10 minutes?

Sigh. And because I stayed up that extra hour, it is now 2 a.m. I hurry up to the bathroom (which for me is miles down the hall), wash my face with cold water because I don't want to wait for the warm water, and like a dentist, I go to town on my teeth so hard my gums begin to bleed.

I rush back to my room, turn out the light, fix my alarm so I can get a good six hours of sleep, and then shut my eyes only to realize I'm wide awake. After an hour of lying in my bed, cursing the counting sheep, I finally drift off.

After five hours of sleep, which feels more like one, I wake up to my alarm. When I finally arrive to consciousness, I feel like I've been mummified. My eyes are sunken. My skin is dry and stinky. Booger-crusties line the corners of my mouth and eyes. I cough up dust.

Once I begin moving in the morning, I do fine, but then a dark cloud looms over me during the most important time of class - sleep. I sway from side to side, back and forth, around in circles as I fight to pay attention to British literature, speech, German, advertising and educational psychology. After all that spinning, I'm nauseous and dizzy at the end of the day.

Every week this scenario is the same. By Friday people are burned out and screams are being heard throughout campus, while students crawl around the residence halls biting themselves and others.

Becoming a doily maker might not be so bad, right? I'm young. I can make anything work.

Sally...? Where are you?

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