I think the state of my room says a lot about how quickly this year has passed. I think back to move-in day all the way back in September, when my floor was spotless, my books all organized, and my backpack totally empty. Now, with only 15 days left of term (but who's counting?), my room is in a state of disarray. I step over discarded notebooks and papers on my way to my drawers, stuffed haphazardly with poorly folded clothes, flip over a few of those notebooks and papers to find a specific paper I need, and then get close to pulling a muscle trying to lift my backpack from my bed. I thought about it today, and I've decided that the deep cleaning that is sure to go down in this room is both a pro and con of the end of the year--a pro because whoever needs my room over the summer will be able to see the floor, a con because of how long it'll take.
And then I thought about this time of year in general, with its bustle of activity and stress, and came up with a pretty even list of pros and cons revolving around the end of spring term:
Pro #1: The weather is suddenly really warm and beautiful.
It's often been said that Idaho suffers from a 9-month winter, especially by its locals. I'm inclined to agree, if only because it's taken until May for spring to finally get around to it's sprung state. I've been wearing my light jacket out of habit instead of need--I can stroll the campus at nearly any time of day and take comfort in the high 70s and low 80s. It might be a little windy every now and then, but overall, walking the Quad has been a lot more enjoyable since the sun has started staying out longer.
Con #1: Allergies have come back with a vengence.
I seem to forget every year when spring arrives that I have some sort of allergy to something in the air. I'm not sure what it is officially--maybe pollen, maybe grass--but there is something that comes with spring that causes uncontrollable sneezing, itching eyes, and running noses. I just cracked open a new box of tissues last week to keep around my room, and I've already plowed through more than half of it. And this is a pretty big box of Kleenex, man. The sneezing gets so bad at times that I almost wish I could have winter back. Almost.
Pro #2: People seem to be in a pretty good mood.
That warm weather is certainly improving spirits all across campus. With a better climate to play Frisbee Golf in, the Quad is busier than ever with sunbathers, jocks of all stripes, and just a bunch of people who enjoy the outdoors. It makes crossing the Quad impossible without having at least one conversation with someone you know, be it a cute girl reading a book under a tree or one of my Delt brothers walking back from a class. Everyone I run into on these trips looks a lot more jovial than they did the previous season, and they've only grown happier with the calendar moving closer and closer to the end of the term. This seems to be the case for most people, but...
Con #2: There are also people who seem to be grumpier than ever.
...there's about an even number of people that are super stressed out and grumpy with all of the crazy end of term projects they need to get done, especially seniors. With Dead Week a couple of days away, countless students are becoming bleary eyed, the lack of sleep getting to them after yet another all-nighter to finish a paper or study for a test. Even professors are beginning to get snippy--just today, in fact, two of my professors were a lot more aggressive than usual, more quick to tell students off in the middle of a lecture and more apt to crack the metaphorical whip and get us students to do something they wanted. Considering that these professors are usually more laid back, it's obvious that the stress of the end of term is getting to them just as acutely as it's getting to us.
Pro #3: Lots of fun events are planned out.
The changing of the weather and the closeness of the end of the year make it a ripe atmosphere for year ending celebrations, and trust me when I say that there's been one for nearly every single class or organization I take part in here on campus. All those awesome gentlemen in that lead picture at the top of this post are active members and alumni members of Delta Tau Delta, celebrating our Founder's Day with the christening of the Haus' newest addition, the Honor Courtyard, funded by alumni and built by brothers to help refinance our Shelter. We got to raise money and dig a giant hole, so everyone won (and, in my case, got sunburned to the point where my arms are still not completely finished peeling). There was also a fancy dinner that followed, and a golf game the next day, both of which were enjoyable in their own ways. Not to mention end of year choir concerts (Vocal Jazz had theirs this week, which went spectacularly, while the Chamber Singers and Chorale are having theirs this coming Tuesday), senior art galleries in Blatchley Hall, Jewish History's Shabbat (an event put on by Dr. Berger every year for his Jewish History students, celebrating the Jewish Sabbath Day in actual Jewish tradition), Spring Fling coming up this weekend...and that's not even the full list.
Con #3: There's too many events to handle.
Considering how involved I am with the organizations that put on these events, having to figure out my schedule to go to as many as possible while still finding the time to finish my academic commitments (and commitments like keeping up with this blog) has been quite the hurdle to jump. I've been getting it all done so far, but with 15 days left of term and even more events to handle (like the aforementioned choir concerts), I may find my mind collapsing into itself before commencement goes down.
Pro #4: You get recognized for the year's achievements.
Today was C of I's annual Student Awards Ceremony, in which all the major academic departments hand out awards to outstanding students in their field. This extends to athletics and other various social groups, like our Student Senate and the Coyote newspaper. It's a good opportunity to reflect on what has been accomplished during the academic year, especially if you earn some hardware yourself. I was one of the lucky recipients today, earning two accolades from the music department: Outstanding Vocal Jazz Musician and recipient of the Jim Gabbard Memorial Scholarship for the second year running. I already knew going into the ceremony that I'd be picking up the jazz award, after it was informally awarded to me at the jazz concert the previous night, but repeating the Gabbard Scholarship came as a pleasant surprise. It's a good feeling knowing that the music department finds me so valuable, despite the fact that the only music classes I take are the choirs. Still, I'm proud to consider myself a music student, and prouder still that I've been able to thrive there.
Con #4: Pretty soon, there won't be anyone on campus to celebrate those achievements with.
If anything is for certain, I know I'm going to miss so many of my C of I friends terribly once this term is over, particularly the graduating seniors who I've come to look up to and befriend. So many of us will be going our seperate ways in a couple weeks to take on whatever the summer throws at us, be it another few months working shifts at Marshalls or a really cool internship opportunity. It's comforting to know that a few of them will remain local, but with some of my closest friends leaving for Washington, Colorado and even Europe, it's hard to take that as much of a comfort. I'll have to wait until September rolls around again to enjoy the company of many of these friends, which is the biggest con that exists on this list. We'll stay in touch, of course, but there's going to be a hole in my social life bigger than the one we dug at the Delt Haus when I won't be able to see them this summer.
Clayton is a sophomore creative writing major from Meridian, Idaho.