This week most of us will return to our parents’ homes for Thanksgiving. For many, this break will be our first time back since leaving in August. While I always look forward to a home-cooked meal and tremendous water pressure in the shower, I dread the obligatory question-and-answer session that occurs just moments after I walk through the door. These sessions often end up feeling more like CIA interrogations with me being a recently captured KGB operative.
To help take some of the pressure off, I’ve taken the liberty to provide what I call “A Week-In-The-Life of a College Student.” Think of this article as your defense to the shock and awe campaign of questioning that your parents will wage against you at the dinner table. Protect yourself against the verbal barrage while gorging on mashed potatoes and enjoying Packer football. Just cut out daily descriptions below, hand them over to your parents and peacefully watch Brett light up the Lions.
Monday: Mom and Dad, there may be no sound more satisfying than a Monday morning alarm going off. Not only have I dropped the bad habit of hitting the snooze button three times, but I’ve set out everything I need for the day the night before. A week full of tantalizing lectures and inspiring TAs offer a full plate of learning that can satisfy even the most information-hungry student. After skipping gleefully from class to class, there is a mad sprint to the library to try to get the best seats in the quiet room.
Tuesday: Maybe, just maybe even more exciting than Monday — for the simple fact that most power lectures take place on Tuesdays. If 50-minute university classes were the Mercedes of education, power lectures would be the Bentley. I laugh quietly to myself when I hear the ’50 minute bell’ ring while sitting in a power lecture, knowing that some unlucky few won’t be spending another 25 minutes in class. These extensive knowledge sessions are not only necessary, they’re fun too! Bars offer lucrative specials Tuesday nights in an attempt to woo students from our books. These overtures fail. A quick glance at the three-toothed patrons in windows of The Pub is enough to send most scurrying back to their library haven.
Wednesday: It’s not called hump day for nothing. With the weekend creeping up, most students start to feel like the constant Madison weather forecast: cloudy with a chance of depression. However, Thursday exams loom large and offer a chance to let our professors know just how much we’ve learned. Wednesday nights you can find everyone who’s anyone in one of Madison’s coffee shops, usually curled up with a good book like “An In-depth Analysis of the Election of 1848, The Zachary Taylor Story” or “The History of Wisconsin Topsoil.”
Thursday: Classes may be ending for the week, but professors and TA’s are more than happy to hold extra study sessions while burning the midnight oil. Since two-thirds of the student population is not 21, you won’t find any of them at the bars. Don’t be fooled by advertisements announcing college night on Thursday; the bars must be empty because Fashionably Late at the Union is a rocking sober time. Highly amusing and equally educational is the trash-talking over scholarly games such as chess and Go.
Friday: Classes may have ended, but scholastic contests are just heating up. Many head over to the quiet room at Helen C., where I’ve been privy to witness one of the most intensive chemistry competitions of all time — who can draw the most detailed diagram of Tellurium or, for those of us in the know, [Kr]5s24d105p4. Most retire to bed early to get a good start for the Badgers, who usually schedule their games at the surprisingly late hour of 11 a.m.
Saturday: After waking up at nine in the morning, baking cookies and preparing hot chocolate, most students stand outside of the stadium and offer their goods to weary fans of the opposing team. Don’t let negative press reports fool you; I’ve witnessed nothing but open arms for our brethren from Ohio State and Purdue — in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the student section received the Big Ten Sportsmanship award this year.
Sunday: Far and away the most glorious day of the week. Fortunately, it’s time to do school work again and it cannot come soon enough. While spending the weekend reading for fun, I cannot wait for structured assignments. Whether it’s a term paper that requires footnotes or a finance pro-forma sheet, most of us salivate at the thought of Sunday work.
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Now that I’ve given you all the tools you need for your interrogation, you can keep the truth hidden. At times it may get hairy. Just don’t let them know you have every bars’ drink special memorized or that you spent more time playing Snood than studying for your math final, and you’ll be all set. Have a great Thanksgiving!
Andrew Fein ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in journalism.