A typical day in the life of a college student
|He feels exhaustion like a weighted blanket over his body. He's like an astronaut, floating around the house, un-tethered, carried by his exhaustion to harnesses like the soft couch and his bedroom. A few rigid chairs will hold his weight too, and that's the best compromise he can make given how busy he's supposed to be.
The exhaustion stems from the fact that he woke up at 5:30 today and went to bed at around 1 the day before. After waking up, he stared, stunned and entirely not sleepy, at the ceiling for a short bit, torn between the overall understanding that he really should close his eyes and try to sleep and the fact that biologically his body wanted nothing to do with the duvet and pillows.
So against his better judgement, he got up, brushed his teeth, stared at the grey dawn and the sounds of small animals through the window. During this time, the day always feels like a race. 10 minutes to get dressed. 3 minutes to brush your teeth (or the length of one Maroon 5 song). 5 minutes to brew coffee. Maximize your time. Your time is running out.
He sort of collapses around 2 to 3 PM. He lies belly up on the couch like a client to an imaginary therapist, eyes aimed upward, almost always music drifting in the background, wondering what the point of life is. Balanced so precariously between feeling the anxious need to Do Something, and being overwhelmed by the futility of it all. He moves like a swimmer underwater: slowly, ponderously, scrambling with maddening haste at the speed of a snail. This is also when he usually feels tired.
The next two roads, he feels like, are as follows. Open up the phone, plug into some pointless medium and slowly forget everything about your stress or need to be productive or the haunting reality which is that you're unemployed and the length of time whereby that is acceptable (a college degree) is dwindling with lethal inevitability. Or continue the mad rush; park yourself onto a chair and plug in in an entirely different manner involving constant stress and fear, applying to jobs you don't want, describing an entirely different person in your cover letters, as that feeling of futility weighs heavier and heavier in your chest. You feel a sense of pride and accomplishment by nightfall but the next morning you're always hit with a staggering sense of depression for no reason you can fathom.
Most days, he takes neither of these two paths. He lies in various positions in different places of the house, frozen in incontinence, as alive as a dead thing kept animated by electricity, trying desperately to take both paths at once. Schrodinger's cat at Robert Frost's crossing. And then by night time, he is a jittering mess of energy, willing to do anything (now, why now?) besides sleep. He stares into his phone, resigned, and tells himself tomorrow will be different.