Put down the textbook… and read this: A Love Letter for the College Students

I’ve been there.

Books piled up in a stack beside you. Nodding off to the glow of the computer screen. Neon strips of highlighter scraped across your forehead, leftover not from a raging highlighter party the night before but rather the all-nighter spent spooning Shakespeare term papers and mind-rattling interpretations of Samuel Beckett’s best works.

Some of you are halfway through. Knees sunk deep in the muds of history power points and audio projects. Stammering in the mirror before you give that final speech in class tomorrow. Still muddling through the differences between el & usted. Nosotros & Vosotros.

Some of you are stocking up on caffeine fixes and 5-Hour Energy drinks before the storm hits. A storm of finals worth 60% of your grade. 12-pagers that will have you crawling into the light of the morning, turning your study guide into a white flag to wave and surrender.

You’ll make it.

I know it. I can promise that there are lights & lanterns & the promise of cold winter nights cuddled by the fire at the end of your tunnel. Perhaps it won’t be the grace of a love letter but the grace you’ll gain from the sound of the last book shutting. The sound of the last pages shuffling out from the printer and into your professor’s mailbox.

Remember to breathe. To eat. To sleep, if you can. Curl up on the couch in the campus center if that’s what it takes. Blast Holiday music while you slug a gingerbread latte you so deserve. And, on the nights where 1am comes quicker than shoppers to Best Buy on Black Friday, be the one to text your friends, “Diner. 2am. I’ll drive.”

I still keep that memory.

Unearth it as I do the ugly sweaters that get pulled down from the attic this time of year and pulling off the cobwebs of a time that I didn’t know I’d ever miss. A stack of pancakes. An open laptop. Hot chocolate with whipped cream dribbling from the side. All of us laughing, not knowing at the time that yes, yes, we were going to miss it one day soon.  

It’s hard to believe that right now as you struggle to swallow every prefix in the dictionary or every literary term you’ll need to dissect that Emily D. poem tomorrow. But the closeness of friends in one place, the justified seeing of the sun coming up before you close a book and allow your bottom and top lids to mingle with one another again after a solid two weeks of Open & Awake, the 24/7 sweatpants apparel for at least two weeks… you’ll miss it when it is gone.

So pick your chin up from the computer. Stand up and stretch. Take a break to call your friend and see how studying is going. If there is someone beside you, smile… propose a coffee break… treat them.

Get some fake candle, lay a blanket out in the middle of the floor, and claim that a study executed at 800 universities across the country proved that copious amounts of Elf quotes, cuddling, and snow angels increased final grades by a whopping 73% percent.

Let Beethoven trickle through the iHome. Take a Target break. Buy reindeer ears for no good reason. Drive home the long way and just let the lights you and hold you for a pocket of peace. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.  Stop the car. Park it. And just sit quiet for a minute– no texts to keep you, no Instagram to push you off from the moment at hand. Forget for a moment that your vocabulary is plumped with Finals & Responsibility & Deadlines & Due Dates. Just laugh & sing & dare to miss the moments that will be gone tomorrow.

Remember: It is a book. It is a test. It is a paper. That’s it. That’s all.

You’ll make it. Myself, this love letter, and anyone who has ever been there before…we are pulling for you.

Happy Finals!

-Hannah B.