Each year around November/December my friends and I start to dream and scheme about J-term. Last year we even sent out a Facebook message to rally the troops and begin early planning for a month severely lacking in academic responsibilities. To name a few: number 6—play with puppies, number 9—snow bong, number 12—Absinthe freakout/poetry reading.
As a relatively creative bunch, needless to say our grand schemes had us chomping at the bit to return to school and live out our wildest college fantasies, or something.
Also needless to say, nothing of this sort happened. Last January was so uneventful I cannot even relay the boring details right now, adding in some spice and mockery for interest’s sake. It is a hole in my memory, indistinguishable under a fog of stagnant smoke and spilled drinks.
And this J-term was no different. I spent the daylight hours lounging on my couch, eating egg sandwiches and watching Gossip Girl, my hopeless, weary sighs begging to be heard but completely useless because I was utterly alone in a dank, basement apartment. My roommate nowhere to be found because she was gallivanting around these great United States kissing any boy whose lips begged to be moistened.
So what do you do when you have an entire month with nothing to do but prevent your brain from atrophying and attend one class roughly six hours a week? Read? Go on walks? Make out with your boyfriend?
This January I enrolled in yoga and sometimes went to class. I did a lot of moping, dish washing, dancing alone to aforementioned roommate’s extensive collection of Lemuria on vinyl, and sleeping. And drinking. So much free time to be had, but it’s not so sweet when your free time comes between the third nap of the day and bedtime.
We should have gone to the art museum. I should have finished reading the His Dark Materials series. It’s not our fault we couldn’t follow through with the snow bong; it didn’t snow! The weather was ripe for multiple Chicago trips; lazily strolling down Magnificent Mile, lounging around Millennium Park, drinking Intelligentsia and eating Molly’s Cupcakes on a park bench; oh, it could have been such a picturesque month.
It took me three years to realize that J-term is kind of shitty; three years of unmet expectation and unflagging disappointment. Most of us college kids are too lazy to take advantage of all that time, too intimidated by how little homework we have, and too sleepy to do anything but drink to excess and play video games.
The depression sets in when the ceaseless nights of debauchery get old. After a week of the cyclical motions of impairment and sobriety, and when you experience your first episode of blacking out, you realize that this is what you will do the entire month. And then you take another swig of your sixth beer.
Second semester has begun and I’m draped agitatedly across my couch, trying to read Moll Flanders (literally one of the first novels ever written), filled with regret over yet another failed J-term. Oh, I passed yoga, by the way..