The struggle bus reaches maximum capacity every time Dead week rolls around. The library becomes more of a social scene where we can all pull our hair out together. Cram sessions take over Robert E. Kennedy as students find themselves forced into cubicles or god forbid they have to find somewhere else to study. Like the Starbucks by Madonna, an abandoned classroom, or their desks at home. I shiver.
Most people consider this week deadly because the entire quarter catches up to them and they are trying to salvage their GPA’s. Stress levels test boundaries and you run out of time for daily joys like the gym, a nap, or a balanced breakfast. As a journalism major, this is not the case for me. I have deadlines, projects, and butt-loads or work every week of the quarter. My finals are more projects, very easy, or nonexistent. This week is virtually the same as every other week for me aside from the fact that everyone is too busy to be interviewed so I have to look harder for sources.
For me this week is deadly because all my friends are too busy to hang out. I cannot fulfill my social quota of the week while everyone I know has their nose buried in a textbook they just opened for the first time all quarter. I usually like to fill everyone ounce of free time I have (which is sparse) with social stimulation. This week is always known for record lows on social interactions and that’s a real bummer for a social butterfly such as myself.
I had a few hours of free time this week and I wanted to go to the beach. I asked around to see if anyone wanted to go and most just looked at me enviously and then hoisted their 20lb backpack over their shoulder and headed back to Dead week headquarters (aka the library). Whatever, I thought to myself. I don’t need them, I’ll just go alone!
So off I went, packed me a snack and a book and headed west. Avila Beach was chilly but sunny and very peaceful. I actually quite enjoyed myself. I ate my pretzel snack and walked with my feet in the water and then headed up shore for some wind shelter so I could do some reading. I was not but 3 pages into my law book (OK, I have some studying) when I was approached by an older couple. The man stayed a safe 20 feet away while the woman walked right up and began to tell me story.
“I walk this beach everyday with my husband,” she said with a thick russian accent. At this point I was sure I was on the receiving end of a memorable life lesson about true love. “One day we walked all the way to the end of the beach, and I walk much faster than my husband.” Off in the distance he shrugs. “An old fat man on the beach sees me come around the corner and he thinks I am alone.” This isn’t going where I thought it was. “He starts asking me questions… asking what I am doing… tries to call me over…” she looks off in the distance, recalling the disturbing memory. I follow her gaze. “There are a lot of creepy people out here. If some old man hits on me, what is he going to do to a pretty young thing like you?” I frown. Flattering as that was, she was really harshing my beach vibe.
“Well how fat was he? I could probably out run him.” I logic. Now she frowns. “I have pepper spray!” I try again. She still doesn’t seem satisfied.
“I am a mother and grandmother,” she says. “I just worry about young girls out here alone.”
“Thank you for your concern,” I say politely. “I’ll be careful…” She gives me one last painstaking look before regretfully leaving me alone on the beach.
I look down and try to continue reading. Nope. Not happening. Beach vibe officially harshed. It was not lost on me that of the three people even on the beach (me, her, and her unwilling husband) she was probably the craziest. But still I for some reason felt it was time to go.
The moral of this is be sure to befriend underachievers and super seniors so you never have to go to the beach alone during the dreaded Dead Week.