Benjamin Gottesman, Editor-in-Chief
Being a senior is tough. Every day, I grow closer to the inevitable moment where I conclude my educational career, a moment I had dreamed about since I was in middle school but now seems rather daunting. There are few constants along the path from six years old to twenty-three, and school is one of them. It is, thus, no surprise that all I can think about is what exactly I will do next September. For the first time in my life, I can do anything. I have always had a rather clear sense of where I would be living six months from any given moment, and now, for the first time, I truly can go anywhere. Sure, it’s exciting, but it is equally, if not even more so, daunting.
It’s not like the world stands still while you make this decision. The dual curriculum and fourteen-hour slugfest that is the daily life of a YU student isn’t going away just because I graduate in three months. Naturally, I left my Hebrew and math requirements for my last semester, something past-Benjy is thrilled about, but present-Benjy isn’t exactly loving. Running a newspaper, working an internship, and writing a thesis takes time as well. Factor in trying to keep a social life afloat, whatever modicum of exercise I convince myself to do, and the epoch of processing time required after each episode of The Last of Us, and we’re far past the 24 hours that we have been divinely allotted.
The pressure is the worst part, though. Doesn’t it feel like everyone else has it figured out? I know that I am far from the only one who doesn’t have this all sorted yet, but I got to say, sometimes that’s exactly how it feels. Some people have a little angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. I have the entire cast of Fiddler on the Roof perched up there, wondering why I don’t yet have a six-figure job, a family of five, and affordable dental insurance.
So, yeah. I got a bad case of burnout.
Remember those Snickers commercials? I can’t get them out of my head. “Mike,” played by Betty White, lines up at wide receiver in a pickup football game. Predictably, he is as useful as an octogenarian who barely eclipses five feet would be in a game of two-hand touch. Suddenly, someone hands him a Snickers bar which, when eaten, turns Mike back into an athletic young man, far better equipped to navigate an opposing secondary. “Better?” his girlfriend asks. “Better,” Mike asserts. The image fades, and words appear: “Snickers,” the screen reads, “because you’re not you when you’re hungry.”
I’m not saying I feel like Betty White on a football field, but I don’t feel quite like myself. It feels as if life is moving too rapidly for any one person to handle. Reprieve is about as fanciful a word as “magic,” “monsters,” and “reasonably-priced cafeteria food.” I’m not sure that I’m hungry, but I could certainly go for a Snickers.
As if a candy bar will make things slow down. Perhaps the key to a stress-free life lies somewhere in a gooey mess of chocolate, caramel, and peanuts. Or perhaps, it’s even simpler.
There’s been a silver lining to all the stresses of senior year. I have found that the busier I get, the more I love the things that make me happy.
Those quiet days in the library, where all that I had to do was read and write, used to be a chore. Now they’re my working definition of “tranquility.” Night seder can sometimes be intense and difficult, but when everything is in flux, those hours of grounded certainty are mei’ein olam haba (comparable to Heaven). Hanging out with friends was something I used to take for granted- now it’s an oasis of casual existence. Being home, with my family, on a Friday night has always been my default, yet it is nothing less than God’s greatest gift.
There is so much to love. There is so much joy squeezed into the crevices of the everyday grind.
I have no clue where I’ll be in six months. In the meantime, I’m going to keep working, putting my best foot forward, confident that I’ll end up in the right place. More importantly, I am going to keep enjoying those magnificent, precious experiences that make life so wonderful.
I also ordered three bags of fun-sized Snickers for my apartment.
Just in case.