I hit snooze too often. Five more minutes of sleep can quickly turn into an hour. Suddenly it’s sunny and I’m running late for everything. Throw on a shirt and some pants, and I’m out the door.
The drowsiness lasts for most of the day. I could blame it on anemia, but I have a really minor form of it, and I love red meat. Plus my roommate will give me hell if I cry anemic. It’s really because I need time to wake up. Everyone does. And it’s hard to give yourself the extra time in the morning. Instead, you walk around like a zombie for the day, for the year, for four.
Being a member of the walking dead isn’t so bad, though. To some extent, I think we all fall into that category, and if everyone’s doing it, then we know it’s cool — sorry, D.A.R.E.
We tend to daydream when walking amongst the living — or at least I do. I’ve imagined everything from starring in the great romance of the 21st century to the conversations others are having about me. “What’s Andrew going to do?” “Oh, he’s gonna be a fry cook on Venus.”
But the truth is, after four years, I’m starting to wake up. It was bound to happen at some point. Now the best I can imagine is that someone, somewhere, is calling me a righteous dude. And that’s okay because I can feel the creepy grip of real life slowly grabbing me by the hand, saying, “Hey, righteous dude, you’ve overslept.”
Now I’m just lying in bed, wondering what happened. Adventures and allnighters; times spent on the run, chasing smiles and feeding friends watermelon — acting like it wasn’t the real world, because people don’t act like that in the real world.
In the real world, if you live it up, you won’t live it down, or at least that’s what Professor Waits told me. In ours, there’s nothing Ann’s Kitchen won’t forgive you for. Text someone past 2 a.m.? Here’s a pancake. Oh, you called them? That’s gonna require an omelette. Wash it down with some coffee, take a nap and one up yourself later. The menu has something for every transgression.
So we flock to our cure-alls, knowing everything will blow over. But also knowing that another dream will lead to another misadventure, and soon enough you’ll be back in the kitchen, hopefully laughing about whatever happened with someone who finds misfortune as strangely endearing as you do.
And at the end of the day, at least you can say you went for it, whatever it is. Go ahead, personify Nike’s retired slogan. Tell yourself that life goes fast, and if you don’t take time to look around, you could miss it. Throw as many cliches into a paragraph as possible, be as subtle or straightforward as you want and remember to always chase the story. It could all be for naught, but then again, you’ve still got Ann’s to nurse you back to health. And who knows, maybe the wild goose chase turns out to be worth it in the end.
The best you can do is hope that it does. The worst you can do is sit around, awake, counting down the days until you can scoff at someone for not growing up. It gets lonely, though, when you ride the high horse, so try walking. Join the legions and watch as four years dissolve into an inevitable “see you later,” because goodbyes are hard to get right, and we are Berkeley students. Failure is as unacceptable as admitting you don’t think Orange County is that bad of a place.
It’s okay if you’ve gagged a few times by this point; I know I’ve taken liberty with my indulgent nostalgia. But sometimes it just hurts so good. We can only straddle the line between the real world and whatever poorly constructed metaphor I can think of for college for so long. Soon the line becomes blurry, and we have to wipe the sleep from our eyes.
I’ve been told that once our vision restores, once we’re awake, it’s hard to fall back asleep. The times you laughed at a late text or woke up feeling proud of an all-night drink-a-thon are replaced by a single thought: “Will all of Ann’s great omelette wash this blood clean from my hand? Nah, probably not. Shit.”
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Graduation isn’t something to fear — it’s just another part of the story. The wild years might be over, or they might just be starting. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you take time to reflect on what’s happened, and, hopefully, walk away feeling good about it.
In four years I’ve covered a lot of ground, and there’s no way to take off the mileage. Sorry, Ferris, but you can’t just drive backwards. The roads might look familiar, but you’re different.
So here I am, reaching for a shirt and some pants, and soon I’ll be out the door. Soon, but not just yet.