Sunday, March 6, 2011

Human Again

Guess what? It is time once again to talk to all you scholars out there who feel like you are drowning in a veritable sea of higher learning. Or who are still working on that High School diploma. Either way - this one's for you. And if you are not a student, you may of course read on - you might find some value in it yourself.

There is a difference, in my book, between being a scholar and being human. The two are different species entirely.

The scholar is a bipedal primate whose greatest advantage in its environment is its literacy. Its natural habitat is a library, desk, or anywhere where textbooks, computers, and lined paper can be found in abundance. It is a solitary creature who spends its time foraging for factual information and applying it in meaningful contexts, such as papers and exams. Their diet is severely restricted to time and current resource, but often consists of heavily processed items that can be prepared in haste. Some are even nocturnal, depending on the time of semester.

The human being is also a bipedal primate, but the resemblance doesn't go much farther than that. The human being is a creature capable of seeing the world around it, and of being at peace with itself - much more than can be said of the average scholar. It can inhabit almost any ecosystem, live off of a wide variety of sustinence, and is generally aware of both its emotional and physical needs. The human being is capable of creating and appreciating things of beauty, and of doing many things as a matter of personal improvement or endurance - rather than for the sake of a grade or score. The human being is a creature of widely varied temperments, but that can generally be found in good spirits, especially in the company of other human beings.

You see? Different species entirely.

However, for all those of you who consider yourselves died-in-the-wool scholars, there is a ray of hope. These two species are physically interchangable. Yes, it's true! You can be a human being if you want to - whenever you want to! All you have to do is put down the books - really put them away! - and do something that doesn't bear any relevance on your grade.

I know, I know - its a great sacrifice. But it will do you all the good in the world. Just put the books out of sight, close the word documents, lock up your Facebook, rid yourself of all flashcards, highlighters, and sticky notes. Get it out of your view and out of your head. Then, when that painful process is complete, go do something else. Ride a bike, bake cookies, go for a run, see a movie or play, have a look at the stars (yes! They're still there! Even during exams!) or simply take a rest. I like to go out on the lawn in front of my apartment building and read a book, or sketch something, or even just lie there and breathe. Did you ever consider what a miracle it is just to take a full breath? You don't realize what a blessing it can be until you've experienced a constricted airway. Believe me - deep breathing is heaven itself.

I won't prattle like this forever, I promise - though you may not take my word for it. I've listed these options before, and I'll likely do it again. The point I wish to make is this: It is possible to be both scholar and human. It is not healthy or productive to be only one or the other. The two must work in tandem - perfect harmony. When they do, you'll find yourself better rested, more productive, and more at peace with yourself all the way around. Take all things in moderation - both the things that must be done and the things that merely should be done.

All scholars need a little humanity from time to time. So take time to be human - don't let yourself look up from your textbooks and realize that the day is passed! Enjoy every moment - even the one's spent in studying. I will bet a pound to a penny that there's even a little magic to be found in that textbook, if you'll only seek it out.

'Til next time, my friends. Ciao!


  1. Hi Rachel- Very cute! I know when you are in college you do feel like one is mutually exclusive of the other so I'm glad to hear you are focusing some time on "being human again". Love you - Mom

  2. I've never heard of two species being physically interchangeable, but I'm glad to know it's feasible -- at least in theory -- in this case. Take care of yourself, my friend... unless a few sleepless nights means more Underground for me. ;-P