If things weren’t crazy enough, this week happened.
If you weren’t aware, this was both the first week of classes and the last week of a little project called Augnowrimo. This will be a little bit of a life post—fair warning—but too many things have been happening this past week.
The first week of classes, for any level of education, is always a unique experience. There is the underlying pressure of looking good, the stress of finding room numbers and memorizing names, the intake of dozens of pages of class expectations and grading standards and don’t cheat or we’ll exile you from society.
I’m here to tell you that first days of school get easier and less of a big deal, but there are still traps that you (if you are slightly awkward like me) fall into. For example, the first day of my French class, I arrived 15 minutes early, only to walk in on a class that was still in session that was decidedly not French. It was embarrassing, sure, but it was one of those things that make a first day seem complete. It’s a matter of well, now I’ve done my stupid thing for the day. We can move on with life now.
There are also moments of absolute surrealism; in this case, my honors seminar on Harry Potter. It sounds like a throwaway class, but, I swear, I knew I was in the right place when the professor began the class by playing the Harry Potter theme over the speakers. The first question she asked us was “Who is Harry Potter?” The first response came quietly from the back: “My childhood.” A collective chill, a collective understanding, swept through the room, and that was when I knew that not only would I love this class, but that I loved the education system here in general.
With beginnings also come endings. For those who don’t know what Augnowrimo is: August Novel Writing Month is a spinoff of National Novel Writing month, a challenge that takes place every November. The goal is, simply, to write a novel in one month. For Augnowrimo, participants set their own word goals. This year I chose a more reasonable 30,000 word, a deviation from the standard 50,000. It turns out that this was an incredibly smart move on my part, because I found myself scrambling in every spare moment of time this week to type up semi-coherent story threads.
It’s a push to writing. I often get asked, “What do you get if you win?” You get words. You get the satisfaction of actually writing something down. You get a firm deadline and an incentive to write—permission, even. It’s not hard to grasp.
With this last week, life became a strange struggle of revving the engine while the car is still in park. School was dragging me forward at an unstoppable pace, but Augnowrimo pulled me back in the opposite direction: the cusp of finality.
Looking back, it would be easy to get lost in the whirlwind of awkward introductions and embarrassingly attractive TA’s and amusement at the lost expressions on freshmen faces. The first week is always bathed in a sort of rosy glow, because it’s the one time in the year where all you have to worry about is staying awake while professors read the syllabus (verbatim) and all the homework you have is a questionnaire or some light reading. The school year will only get more demanding from this point forward, but it’s so worth it. It’s like getting your feet wet, feeling the current around your ankles, before jumping headfirst onto the water slide. I, for one, am ready for the ride.
You can find out more information about Nanowrimo here: