My summer was so inanely boring that I will refrain from boring you with the details of the last three months. Long story short: it was hot, I cried over TV shows a lot, and my mom still expects me to make my bed. That’s it. That’s all that happened. But, with school T-Minus two weeks from starting, I decided to make my prodigal return. Like Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Twinkies, it was time for my comeback tour.
This week’s post is going to be framed like a good ol’ fashioned middle school sleepover: we’re diving elbow deep in emotions, we’re going to get a little philosophical, and whoever falls asleep first is getting profanity written on their face in permanent marker.
Let’s get this party started, shall we?
First and foremost, readers, it is important to note that college is a natural petri dish of messy emotional mess—in case you are a freshman or are reading this while you are in High School, you might not realize that just yet. You’ll experience joy like you never had before, but you’ll also drop into incredible low points that are going to hurt. I know that sounds bad, but the important thing to do to combat being beaten by your own emotions is to prioritize, contextualize, and rationalize.
One interesting thing I did do this summer is read—voraciously and without mercy. And among the many trashy romance novels, angst-ridden teen books, and the occasional classic like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I read this story that kind of changed how I see life, the universe, and everything. The most ironic thing is that I do not remember the name of it. Or who wrote it. Or even what it was about.
But, really, none of that was important.
The only part that stuck with me was a particular quirk of the main character. He was an uptight German man who was someone who just kind of made to ruin people’s days. What made him interesting, in particular, was the way he handled emotions. The way he saw it, every single feeling a human person could possibly experience fell into one of three categories: Fix, Nein, Stay. That’s how he handled things, by categorizing them in order to examine them more fully.
Emotions that he described as Fix are when something is not exactly right and, clearly, it’s your job to make it right. This could be anything from revenge to hunger, anger to the need to pee. Fix is all about motivation.
Nein is a little bit more extreme. Nein is when things were wrong, but you can’t, at the moment, find a way make it Fix. Nein is fear, it’s anxiety.
Lastly, Stay is when everything is right with the world and you feel great—the idea behind it being that things in this category make a person want to make things stay exactly as they are. Stay is contentment, safety, and happiness.
Holy exposition-heavy scene, Batman!
There’s a point to all this, I swear. And it’s this: College is made up thousands of Fix, Nein, Stay emotions. Procrastinating on homework is very Fix, as is getting in a fight with your roommate. Getting an F on a paper is very much Nein, but can turn into Fix if you try hard enough. Stay is playing ping pong in McCain or passing a class you thought you’d surely fail. The important thing is recognizing them. Nein is rare, though it seems like every little thing that even remotely goes wrong is Nein. You have to realize nothing is as Nein as you think it is, no matter if you’re a freshman or a senior.
Whether we all like it or not, school is starting in less than a fortnight (“You can’t use the word fortnight, you sound ridiculous!” – my mother, two minutes ago. Accepting that challenge was totally Fix) and we need to get ready. Besides packing, that means getting mentally prepared for the challenge—and, really, what a hell of a challenge it is. Over the next year, I (and, by extension, this blog) are going to cover a lot of Fix, Nein, Stay things, with the occasional lofty sarcastic aside. Sit tight and we’ll get through it. Brave hearts, readers, and it’ll all be aces.
Because the good news is that if I have learned anything the last two years, it’s that College is, and will always be, very much Stay.
And that’s a beautiful thing.
Until next week,
Ashley A. Miller
P.s. The picture accompanying this post is of my cat and me. Whenever I sit down to write, she makes it her business to get all up in my business. In the picture, she’s trying to read over my shoulder, despite the fact that cats can’t read. What an idiot.
Ashley is a Junior Creative Writing major from Payette, Idaho.