Monday, April 6, 2009

Struggle by the numbers

I will be the first person to admit that I am not a math person. Well, first behind every math teacher, tutor, TA and professor that I have ever had. I just don't tend to think about things numerically. There are people to whom the world of numbers is logical, rational, they can break down the universe in those terms. A whole host of people spring to mind, my friend Jenny, an amazingly brilliant person who can do problems so far beyond my reach they exist in another dimension, or my father, who I still to this day occasionally call to calculate a particularly troublesome tip while dining. Actually, I know a lot of people like this, my friend Lisa who takes econometrics for fun, my friend Ben, who is going into some kind of consulting (perhaps? I'm never quite sure but it always sounds amazing), my lighting-fast brother, my gorgeous friend Jon, I'm not doubting the existence of people who can look at numbers and not immediately revert to Sesame Street, I'm just saying I'm not among them.

But lately as my time here at not-Yale draws to a close I've been thinking in an uncharacteristically numbers-oriented way. That's NOT to say that I've been looking at unemployment rates and stock quotes etc., no, goodness no, I'm not interested in having my eyeballs explode out of my head. But I am thinking about my time left here, and what I am supposed to be doing with it. One of the issues of the American education system, of which there are many that we wont be getting into, see my earlier line about the eyeballs, is that it gets you used to time moving along it's cycles. Even adults I know look forward to summer as if they too would be getting a vacation, and are always disappointed when they don't. As a result of my 21 years of conditioning, part of me is instinctively thrilled at the fact that I will be done with school on exactly 7 weeks from today. However, the other part of me is terrified, because I will be done with school exactly 7 weeks from today. (See what I did there?) And the more I think about it the worse it gets, every minute seems important, every decision I've made in the past about how to spend my time has been called into question. Why didn't I learn to speak Arabic and play the banjo and go to more lectures on the nature of time and space? Why didn't I take up painting and the unicycle and ornithology? What the hell have I been doing for these past four years?

As frighting as this point in my life is, and believe you me, it's some scary times, I can at least say that treating it like a numbers game makes it feel scarier. While I've made some poor decisions here at not-Yale, a lot of which, oddly enough, have included my good friend Tequila, I would say that that a lot of what I have done here has been pretty alright. If time is the mercy of eternity then I have been shown some fairly great mercy in my short time at not-Yale. Let's hope the next 7 weeks are greater the last 3 years and 6 months, or at the very least equal out.

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