Keep the beginning-of-school spirit alive

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Students, new and returning, actually seem excited about being at SMU.

And we’re not just excited about reuniting with friends and hitting Northpark. We’re eager to learn and succeed in academics, extracurriculars, internships and actually finishing 60 days of the grueling Insanity workout. The sky’s the limit.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much time for the excitement to transition into exhaustion.

Those pristine textbooks you bought with every intention of reading cover to cover soon become a source of suffering. Your Lilly Pulitzer planner turns from a cute way to stay on top of things into a book of torture with ironically bright cover art. And if you promised yourself that procrastination was a thing of the past, well, I’m sorry that you set yourself up for failure.

Students show up to class the first few weeks in presentable clothes, carrying a five subject notebook with pens and highlighters in every color. But it doesn’t take long for us to transition into sweatpants and just using the notes app in our phones.

Who am I kidding? This is SMU. We don’t wear sweatpants. But T-shirts do make an appearance.

So what can we do to keep the spirit alive? Is it physically and mentally possible to desire anything besides crawling in a hole to die by the time finals
roll around?

I’ll admit that I have never reached this level of contentment. Right now, SMU is the most wonderful place on earth. Late November, SMU is what I imagine hell would be like. But all that really changes in this block of time is my attitude.

But just because I haven’t been able to keep my spirits up in the past doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it to try. And I have not yet met a student who was chipper around finals time, so I know that we may all be in need of an attitude adjustment.

One of my favorite things about SMU is the passion that most students have for what they’re studying. We all go around the room on the first day of class and share our goals, and there are always huge aspirations. So remembering what brought us to SMU in the first place is always helpful. It’s easy to lose sight of that dream to change the world when all we can think about is how many papers will be due
next week.

A huge mistake we make is thinking many of our classes are useless. As if SMU is thriving by forcing us to take countless hours of subjects that will be of no benefit to us in the real world.

The truth is, being “well-rounded” is not just a term used to justify forcing chemistry on theater majors. Higher education is a privilege that many don’t get to experience. We should be milking it for all it’s worth.

Enjoy your textbooks. Enjoy your quirky professors who somehow can’t figure out how to turn on a computer.

Let’s keep our eyes on the prize of a great education and great future that SMU has for us.

Thrall is a sophomore majoring in journalism and film.

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