Based on The New York Times’ “Metropolitan Diaries,” the Middletown Diaries features awkward, funny, novel, or sweet anecdotes, stories, and memories that happen at Wesleyan and in Middletown. To submit to the Middletown Diaries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When I packed my bags, way back in August, I brought several of my well-loved tote bags with me. Although I used them occasionally during my time in Minneapolis, I did not expect to use them very much, possibly not at all. Most of the people in college use backpacks, right?
I was very wrong indeed. There are many different cultures at Wesleyan: PC culture, a culture of creativity and nonconformity as well as many others. But one of the most notable ones for me was the tote bag culture. Everywhere I looked during my first couple of weeks on campus, there was a tote bag, carried by everyone from the best dressed to the schlubbiest of schlubs. It was so pervasive that for the first week of classes my roommate asked to borrow one of my own tote bags to haul her items around because everyone else had one.
The tote bags themselves range in source as well; there are tote bags from restaurants, cafés, literary magazines, and ones that feature indecipherable jokes on them. I cannot speak as to whether the contents of the bags range as well, but I believe that their presence speaks for themselves enough. Their popularity may be due to their versatility; as receptacles they have the ability to carry everything from books to food smuggled from Usdan to the token illegal beverage.
Anyway, here’s to tote bags; may the canvas tote continue to prevail as the most prominent bag on campus.
I’m asleep. And I’m not. The room is cold, and I fling off the extra blanket to further mix myself into the duvet, pulling it all around me. It’s dark in the room, but lines of light trace down my wall. They’re from the street lamps outside, sieved through my curtains and painted onto the white brick. I don’t know what time it is. I can’t see my clock. I hear voices, doors slamming. Am I late? Do I have time? Sleep comes and goes and then leaves suddenly. In its absence I stare at my wall and think. In its presence I flail through the dark morass of time. I have plans for the future. I have things to do and get done. I have people to see and places to be. But now, in this moment, I lie in bed. In the bed that is too high up to get into easily, with the sheets I changed yesterday, in the room that is my own. The open window brings in a breeze that pushes out the curtains. Is someone there? No one’s there. My socks, then the blanket, then my sweater too end up in a lump on my turf-green rug. My dreams mix in with my hopes and my real life, and I find the two hard to separate. I have my best ideas in the middle of the night, but I never write them down. I have my most urgent questions answered in the middle of the night, but the responses slip away, scattered by daylight. My mouth is dry, and I reach for water. I hear screaming, but I’m not sure if it’s laughter. When I’m finally awake I’m too late.
I have been thinking a lot about happiness and how my happiness is affected by my community and culture. I just want to feel alive. I want to be in the moment. I don’t want to compare myself to the people around me. Sometimes, I think we need to remind ourselves of why we get up in the morning, why we smile. My moments are not built on the GPA I receive from any institution or an A smacked across my paper. My moments are sculpted out of my autonomy to sacrifice perfect for an experience that leaves me breathless.
If you want to change your major because you just realized that you have a burning desire to become the next blockbuster filmmaker, change that major!
You don’t have to decide between getting enough sleep and studying for an exam; reach out to your professors, guidance counselor, CAPS, friends, and ask for support. Your mental health is more important than any grade.
Possibly one of the most helpful college pro-tips I received before entering my sophomore year was your major doesn’t matter. Reflect on that and do with it what you will but know that these four years are more than a diploma; they really are whatever you need them to be. Challenge yourself, grow, cry, go crazy, sleep, and focus on you.
Life is fragile and beautiful, and we have absolutely no idea how much of it we get to experience, so please live a life that reflects your dreams.