Senior Column: Three lessons in fun

By now, I’m sure you all would expect me to write some sort of feminist sermon for this senior column business. I was thinking of being cheeky and refusing to for the sake of fun but as we all know, feminists have no sense of humor. So I never have fun. LIES! I have fun. All. The. Time.

So, for my goodbye soapbox speech to all, I’d like to leave a bit of advice for all the non-seniors out there on having fun, as I’m an expert in the field (contrary to what some may say).

First lesson in fun: Fun is not something you have, it’s something you do. I can’t tell you the amount of time it took me to figure out that if you’re going to enjoy the world and your life, it’s gonna take some effort. You can’t just walk out the door in the morning and expect the world and everyone in it to reward you with a good time just for waking up. It just doesn’t work like that.

I watched a video somewhere on the Internet a while back about this woman who went around to clothing stores and sewed silly happy messages into clothes as surprises for the people who bought them. And even though she got chased out of some stores and for all intents and purposes was doing a thankless task, as the people who got her fun messages could never tell her how awesome they were, she definitely looked like she was having a grand old time. I don’t sew very well but it’s my goal to be this woman when I grow up.

Second lesson in fun: It’s not the easiest task in the world. To do fun requires a certain mindset that I sometimes lack the effort (read: caffeine, funny GIFs, or cute ocelot pictures) to attempt. I spend lots of time feeling guilty for that, as if somehow it makes me a terrible human being. But all it really does is just make people think I’m crabby for a while, which isn’t that tragic. So don’t worry if you have an off moment, the people who matter will stick with you and it’s not the end of the world.

Third Lesson: Though temporary setbacks to awesomeness will occur (and everyone has responsibilities that might not feel the most entertaining at times), you shouldn’t have to feel like you’re settling with the amount of fun present in your life. There’s a great book by Marlen Haushofer titled “The Wall” that taught me this. Upon surviving the apocalypse and having to fend for herself alone, the protagonist muses about her pre-apocalyptic lifestyle and writes in her notebook, “I had achieved little that I had wanted, and everything I had achieved I had ceased to want”. She acknowledges that she just sort of ran through the motions of what she thought she should be doing and then realized she didn’t give a crap about any of it once everything was put into perspective by the end of the world. (As an aside, Haushofer’s other work has yet to be translated from German to English. German majors, get on it.)

But really, the protagonist’s lament about sums everything up. I’m not saying that you should run around expecting everything to be all organic gumdrops and butterflies, but everyone could do with taking a hard look at how much they’re actually living (not to get all new-agey on you). And graduating (arguably vaguely similar to an apocalypse) puts some stuff into a perspective that I hope I’ve helped you see with me for a moment.

Sarah Dropek is a member of Zeta Chi and Sexual Diversity Alliance. She is graduating with a degree in anthropology.