Welcome to the Editor’s Column. This week’s host and star of the show is moi, Kate, Commentary Editor-extraordinaire. I have to edit this column every week, and I’ve got to admit, I don’t love it. It’s not that people are bad writers, just that my fellow editors are often coerced into writing this column against their will. When they’re uninspired, people tend to pick boring topics. They say bland things and begin sentences with, “In my time at Colgate…” and, “Over the years I’ve learned…” You might call these “clichés.”
I don’t want to give you, my reading audience of approximately 2.5 living humans, more clichés, but I cannot guarantee I have anything clever or new to say, either.
If you know me personally, you know I was abroad in Wollongong, Australia last semester, which is a weird place to be. It’s not a major city, but it’s gargantuan in comparison to Hamilton. The time difference varies between 15 and 19 hours, and there’s no Amazon Prime. The birds sound like shrieking monkeys and most of the bugs could kill you, but they won’t. Australians and Americans share many qualities, except for one, crucial Australian characteristic: they know how to chill out. Sans weed, xanax, melatonin, etc., the students I met at the University of Wollongong could genuinely relax, a phenomenon not witnessed on this campus since before the Great Depression.
One day, three weeks into my time in Gong, I found myself sitting on the beach on a pleasantly sunny day, stressed over… nothing. There were no deadlines, homeworks or readings that I needed to be doing, but still, I was on edge. It was one of those moments where you realize all your muscles are tense, waiting to fight-or-flight with your shoulders up to your ears in anticipation. Of what, though?
I began to unravel both my stress and this question of “why” as I bounced between double flat whites at the campus cafés and flights back from funky hostels in beautiful cities. It dawned on me that stress, tension and the nagging “I’m forgetting something” feeling is the baseline mode of operation for basically any Colgate student. I needed to escape this.
Newly returned from Gong, I visited friends on campus in December. Yes, the end of the semester is a busy time, but I realized the people around me would get into hysterics over deciding when to show up to parties, what to wear, what to drink, the grade they just got back, the grade they hadn’t gotten back, how to find time to go to the gym, the library, Price Chopper and also drink water. To say the least, this was harshing my recently zenned-out, Eat-Pray-Love-Down-Under mellow.
“It just doesn’t matter.” This is a favorite quote of mine from a favorite movie of mine, starring a favorite actor of mine—“Meatballs,” 1979, Bill Murray. Relax the wrinkle between your eyebrows, let your shoulders down from your ears. Roll the tightness out of your neck. Allow some of your sanity to return. Colgate is a fun, frenetic frenzy. Not everything that hap- pens here is as wildly important as we make it out to be.
Oops. I went and talked about something boring and bland, just like I said I wouldn’t. I don’t want to waste more of your time, so I’m just going to say: be more like Bill Murray.
Contact Kate Hinsche at [email protected]