Abnormalities, inconsistencies are now the norm
It was a dull and homework-ridden afternoon. I sat on the third floor -- the silent floor -- of the library, reading about how crummy the human condition is.
Suddenly I heard footsteps; I was nervously attuned to their presence because I had my solely-sock-clad feet up on the table and, like any good librarian-fearing literate, was afraid of reaping judgment and condemnation for the desecrating act.
The steps were accompanied by a muted voice, which might not seem strange for a library but struck me in my paranoid state as suspicious. I peaked up from my textbook to see a very skinny girl in dark leggings and a black Columbia coat, mumbling aloud from the book open in her hand as she slowly passed in front of me.
I continued reading; jeez, we humans really have it rough.
After she had made this same trek around the stacks three times, I got a little bit nervous. Was she casting a spell? Cursing those of us who weren't allotting the proper degree of respect to the library's inner sanctum? She did have a somewhat witchy look to her, knobbily bony and dressed all in dark.
I took my feet off the table just in case.
Sure enough, her circles ended, and I left the library slightly melancholy about my humanity, but no longer anxious about being followed by crafty curses.
The oddest part of this story is that it actually wasn't a terribly peculiar occasion so much as just another afternoon. College, I've found, is a very strange place to spend a semester. However, it's the sort of strange you get used to.
After a while, bonding over Les Miserables while brushing your teeth in a communal bathroom no longer seems weird, nor does making grocery store runs for cereal and plastic spoons at two a.m. By the end of first semester, three energy-drink-enabled all-night homework sessions a week isn't uncommon, and come the commencement ceremonies of second semester, you're no longer fazed by opening the door in the morning and walking into a sheet of plastic wrap taped at face level.
For the first 18 years of our lives, we are bred into the habits of hometown life. We become comfortable experts at correctly predicting expectations of ourselves and each other, all bookended by dependability.
And then comes college, where sequences become non sequiturs and patterns no longer repeat from one day to the next, where homework is started at four a.m., days are begun at two in the afternoon, text messages are the primary (or sole) form of communication, and FaceBook is the only constant.
The strangest part is that, after being accustomed to not having any semblance of a norm to accustom oneself to, coming home is what feels the weirdest.
All of a sudden, logic applies. Clocks resume their steady pacing, every other face seen while walking down the street is easily recognized, meals that weren't prepared in a microwave are eaten, and doors don't open when you swipe your ID at them. Normalcy now feels more bizarre than the everyday abnormalities of college consists of.
If there's one thing I learned in this first year of college, it's that we are far more adaptable that we give ourselves credit for. In fact, we can adapt to just about anything -- even an ever-changing lack of anything concrete to adapt to, meaning it can't be too difficult to readapt to the easily adaptable. I don't know about you, but that seems pretty darn incredible to me.
Maybe the human condition isn't so terrible after all.
Thressa Johnson graduated from Detroit Lakes High School and attends Hamline University in St. Paul.