Op-Ed: In remembrance of sandcastles washed away

Aruni Soni | Class of 2023

To you, reading this: we made it here.
We worked so hard to get here. Each and every one of us. Sleepless nights, harrowing pressure, days where something floated outside of you, looked upon this distressed creature before your eyes and wondered: why?
Okay, that’s in the past.
The point is we made it.
It paid off.
Right?

While I was sitting in my class Designing Creativity these past couple weeks, I feel like something woke up inside of me. A uniquely structured class taught by professors Rob Morgan and Bruce Lindsey, the course is split into seven sections that each give us a tool to harvest creativity within ourselves. In the sixth section of the semester, Play, we talked about… having fun. Playing. Remember that feeling you had as a child? When you’d do something– what better way to say it– stupid. Or something silly. Something that made you laugh.

When was the last time you spun around in circles and tried walking in a straight line just for the heck of it? When was the last time you took a box of paints, colored the entirety of your palm, slapped it onto a sheet of paper, and deemed it the most beautiful piece of art known to mankind? When was the last time you looked at something like a chair and thought of fifteen different ways to use it? Perhaps a canvas or sleigh?
Why have we stopped playing?

Maybe it’s because of that philosophy paper. Or that chemistry exam. Or the procrastination monster that trains your eyes upon a snapchat screen. And we think to ourselves, I’ll get through this, I’ll get past this stress that grips me, and then I’ll relax. So often we catch ourselves trapped in this idea of ‘later.’ Allow me to pose a morbid question: if you were to vanish into thin air tomorrow, would you be content? When I ask myself this question, I know there are things I wish I would change. We all know we are not immortal, but why do so many of us live like we are? High school pushed us, it tested our ability to persist, and like knights we dueled with the beast that is the college application race, and we got here. But it doesn’t feel over. Even now we pull all-nighters, we stress about our grades, we spiral down abysses of caffeine, for what? Yes, we have a goal in mind and we are all climbing up a mountain, and yes, it will pay off in the future. But at what cost? Sleepless nights? Missed meals? Erosion of mental health?

There will always be another exam, another interview, but that’s not all we have. We must ask ourselves how much is worth it, we must ask ourselves why. Because who knows what the future has to entail? In the dark hours of the morning, night owl or early bird, when you begin to dissolve into a void of meaninglessness, remember that this is not it. Remember that your life is full of possibilities no matter what, and it’s yours to make memorable. Don’t lose yourself to untrue expectations, and play a little. Play a lot. Just be happy.

Because guys, ultimately, we only get one shot. This is the only chance to experience the world as the you who is reading these words. Let it count. Make memories. Get out there.
Have fun.

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