Busy Bee

(Ethan Gates)– After a summer of intellectual stagnation in Cleveland (everything I learned at my internship came from reading Cracked in the office), I can’t even express how thrilled I am to be back at Amherst. Scrambling this past week to choose classes, straighten out my job schedule (Amherst professors seriously need to get their shit together when it comes to film screenings) and oh yeah, try to write a knockout thesis proposal, I’ve barely had time to breathe. It’s only now, on a not-so-lazy Friday afternoon, that I have a moment to come up for air, and already I’m itching to dive back in.

It’s an odd feeling, actually WANTING to work, and I’m not used to it. After five months of Russia and its *cough* flexible academic system, I was concerned that I would never be able to make the leap back into the Amherst routine. My most demanding assignment in Petersburg was a five-page essay on Azerbaijani poetry that I cranked out in about four hours, while drunk. Now my lit prof wants me to read HOW much by Monday?

That much.

And yet, all I can think about it is how excited I am that I’m finally reading Shaw. And how you could do an interesting analysis of the distinction between monologue and soliloquy in “Hamlet.” And how I need to make an appointment at the Career Center to discuss *ack* post-graduation employment. And pick up a key to Stirn Auditorium from IT. And e-mail four different professors. And post to she-bomb (wait…)

I have never considered myself a workaholic, and certainly still don’t think of myself that way now. But I’d forgotten how, for all the complaining and whining I do over the dinner table at Val about how busy I am, I really thrive on it all. Perhaps it’s an obvious conclusion (I never took a logic course, all right?), but I feel most productive when I HAVE SHIT TO DO. Am there going to be points when I’m in over my head? Sure, this is my senior year we’re talking about, and no shortage of crises are sure to come. Am I still going to cut loose on the weekends? Of course, it’s not like I’m opposed to the entire concept of free time.

But am I going to sit on my computer and play Tetris all day? No. Am I going to only read one book every two months because I spend all my time hitting refresh on Facebook? No. Am I going to take vodka shots on the Monday night before a final exam? Someone here had better stop me if I try.

They did not stop me in May. And that is why I have no idea what happened to the shoes that I should be wearing here.

Amherst brings out the best in me, or at least it brings out the most. I might’ve appreciated a slower transition from the doldrums of summer into the frantic school year, but really, would I want it any other way? Even a trivial trip to the financial aid office here can make me feel like I accomplished something with my day. And I’m going to relish that for as long as I can.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go catch the bus to the mall so I can watch a film to review for the newspaper. I might be busy for several hours.