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Reflections and Prospects (Spring 2013)

Rani Banjarian

There’s something exquisitely comforting about a sitting room with a grand piano dominating one side and a heap of quintessential American snacks in the center, ringed by a ragtag bunch of musicians and one Lebanese kid. This is the second night I spend in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and while cheese puffs, Chex Mix, and Ale81 would not be my first dinner choice they are arguably a much-needed breath of fresh air from my usual on the Vandy campus.

We sit cross-legged on the floor, passing along jars of Nutella and peanut paste among us, trying to scrape the last dregs with pretzels. Our host pounds away on the piano, competing for loudness with his friend who, in between bites of Ritz and peanut belts impossible notes that always threaten to wake the parents up but never really do. We’d all crowded around the piano earlier, singing Coldplay to our hearts’ content, but this evolution seems inevitable, as though the grownups had shown up and the kids knew it was time to go to bed.

I can definitely do this for seven, ten, fifteen more days. Music and good company. And Reddit. Lots and lots of it. I was never one with an affinity for the website, but it seems you can uncover the most marvelous things, if you just know where to look.

I realize I haven’t yet introduced myself. How crass of me. My name’s Rani, and I’m a freshman hailing from Beirut, Lebanon. You can find out more about my nuts and bolts in my bio but for now I want (in not so many words as to bore you) to finish telling you about my prospects for this spring break. For one, I foresee a great deal of lolling around, removed from all responsibility and the thought of classes. So far, this semester has proven to be unrelenting and unforgiving, and I have had to do everything in my power to stay on track and keep up with all my assignments and readings. With 8 am classes every day and a hefty workload that spans an excess of three disciplines I have been conditioned to be satisfied with little more than four hours of sleep a night and no time and space for oxygen more than is exactly needed. In retrospect, coupling that with a role in Vanderbilt Off-Broadway’s upcoming production of Spring Awakening was not the best idea, but at this point all I can and ought to do is keep up and make sure everything keeps slipping into place.

That’s not to deny the fact that this semester has so far surpassed the last on every level. I have learned to manage my time adequately (if not healthily). I have enrolled in classes that interest and challenge me intellectually and emotionally. I have expanded the radius of my social sphere and invested in a bunch of endeavors that have left me feeling accomplished and useful. Even though I feel the weight of Atlas’s sky on my shoulders, I am, surprisingly, enjoying it immensely. I just won’t say no when the opportunity arises to have eight whole days away from that impossible continuum of Vanderbilt life, as is the case now.

Mornings in Bowling Green are as glorious as they are nippy

I will probably write up another entry at the end of spring break and contemplate whether my inaction and idleness will have proven to be nourishing remedies to my workaholic disposition. Have a wonderful spring break everyone!

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