The semester sunburn

| Staff Columnist

I look like a tomato. Following several walks and a picnic last weekend, my skin is officially charred. See, it’s been a while since I’ve seen the sun in its current state and, as a result, I let my guard down (my guard being SPF 50 sunblock) and must deal with the pain until it fades. 

In the same manner, I feel like I (and I’m hopefully not the only one) am starting to feel the heat of another round of end-of-the-semester essays/exams and the worry is starting to blister.

I have a weird relationship with the sun. He and I get along very well all throughout the year, except during the spring/summer months, when he decides to redden my skin if I hang out with him for more than 10 minutes or so without wearing sunblock. I don’t know what it is. I have dark hair; everyone in my family is darkly complexioned. However, for some reason, I turn red, get the slightest of tans and fade back to my crazy paleness to start the cycle of skin cancer over again. Because of this, I should have learned that I need to be more careful when I go outside to play stickball with all of my friends, but still I go outside more often than not with absolutely nothing to defend my poor skin from the glare. 

Similarly, I seem to be falling into a sort of lulled ignorance with the end of the semester and the mess of assignments that come with them. I skip merrily through my work, enjoying (or hating) my reading and notes and Spanish, completely unaware that as soon as it’s warm and fun enough for me to change into short sleeves, I will regret it.  

I didn’t even realize how quickly the semester has gone by. We have four weeks left? And then finals? And then my first year here will be over, and I’ll go back home and probably forget to put on sunblock and wind up with a raging burn, a week of freckles and slight pigmentation, and then turn white again.

The harsh UV rays come with the failure to acknowledge the end of the semester until it’s right before us and we find ourselves completely stressed out about our two or three 10-page papers due within a week of each other (am I projecting here?). At least, what I’m feeling right now is an almost complete sense of freaking out at the thought of getting all these done, and it’s making me wish I had some shade or sunglasses or a parasol or something. The worry itself and a lack of adequate preparation are what are so charring. 

There are those, however, those whom I’ve come to envy, like every single cousin I have back home, who can skip the burn stage and go straight to the bronze. I’m not talking to you because you guys are actually prepared and aware without having to try hard, which makes me feel terribly inadequate.  

However, for those of you who share my tender-skinned pain, take heart! While, yes, exams and huge essays may be coming soon and you feel that prickly burn on your neck, remember, you’re almost done with this year. Before we know it, we will be on the other side of May and the burn will have worn off and we’ll be sporting the tan of our accomplishments and have another year under our belt. We can do it, but just make sure to keep a watch on that mole you got from the Orgo exam.