Volume 50, Issue 10: Editor’s Desk
Carlo Javier // Editor-in-Chief
“My greatest enemy is my inner me,” – Lupe Fiasco
In basketball, there’s a concept called the ‘Rookie Wall.’ It is a belief that rookies, no matter how well they have acclimated to the professional level, will inevitably hit a seemingly insurmountable wall that will cause them to struggle. It is an understanding that hot starts and that excited and energetic players will always regress back to the mean. Simply put, it is a term used to identify when someone’s impressive production ultimately proves to be unsustainable.
Although the Rookie Wall seems like a sound explanation for periods of frustration and underperformance, its biggest aw is that this dreaded phase is not exclusive to rookies. Regardless of experience, skill and work rate, everyone can and will struggle. Even the most experienced of individuals will somehow mess up. No one is impervious to a tough week, or two.
This is very much apparent in student life. For most students, November stands as among the most traumatic times within a given semester. Especially in the Lower Mainland, when rainy weather becomes near omnipresent as autumn hits. This is the season when that metaphorical Rookie Wall starts to materialize, looming over the heads of students, standing seemingly indestructible. I know it because I have seen it. I have crashed right into it.
When I was in high school, one of my teachers often warned her students about “June Brain”, a condition that students get when the impending arrival of summer break starts to really become more apparent. It was a phase where students would start to pack it in and give up.
I found that for myself, June Brain was a little more common throughout my life as a university student – and especially more concentrated in November. This is when all the work that had been cast aside finally start to manifest as demonic spawns that just can no longer be swept away. I really had to fight.
As expected, I struggled. I was a fairly good student, even great on some occasions. But man, I was a talented class skipper, I mastered schedules and outlines, and timed my appearances and disappearances as well as any professional student could. Whenever I would come back to class after a missed day or two, or three, I always imagined walking back in the room to OutKast’s “Return of the G”.
When the going got tough, I was very much a firm believer in coming back strong the next day. It worked for the most part, but not everyone has the luxury of even having the choice to come back.
School-induced stress can be overwhelming, and sometimes, regrouping and planning a counterattack is not an option. You just have to stand your ground and take the hits. This is one of the perils of being a university student. Yes, I was at fault for procrastinating and skipping, but let’s be real, school is not easy. When people said time management is a necessary skill to succeed, they were not lying. The only thing they forgot to mention is that skillful time management involved prioritizing the work you really need to do and the class you really need to attend.
Students face a terribly misunderstood and misinterpreted level of expectations. The belief is that academia is not hard work, and that because you are inside a classroom, then your struggle is not the same as the rest of the world. While this notion does hold some levels of truth, dismissing school work as an illegitimate form of hard work is a dangerous mistake that only devalues the effort and dedication of students.
As we head into a precious winter break, taking some time off from the stressful and unforgiving world of academia should be on top of any students’ priority list. Expectations for students are incredibly high, and for better or worse, the ones who place the most pressure on students are themselves.
Wise words from a graduate: relax, you deserve it.