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The Land of the (Semi) Free

Priyanka Aribindi

Before I came to college, I had always heard that the hardest adjustment you would have to make aside from living away from home was getting used to all the free time you would have on your hands. I guess in theory that makes sense— instead of being in school for 40 hours a week, around here people average 15. But that by no means, I’ve come to discover, makes the rest of your time at college free.

Between going to chapter, meeting with the Music Group, writing and editing in the newsroom, doing homework and posting here occasionally, there really isn’t any time when my to-do lists are completely empty.

This one is completely full. Joy.

Living with a never-ending checklist is something I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember, and even though it has made my experience here so rewarding already, it can definitely be overwhelming. And, as the saying goes, as the going gets tough, the tough get going (as far away from whatever’s stressing them out as possible…).

Maybe that last part is just me, but every now and then when I really feel like taking a break from everything, I love to hide out in little nooks around campus with my laptop.

This is by far my favorite place to go when it's nice out for a phone call or just messing around on my computer. Please don't take it from me though...

Normally when people don’t want to study for tests or write their papers they’ll head to Facebook or check out their favorite Twitter feeds, but up there with those two in my favorite ways to procrastinate is Google Docs, believe it or not.

Audrey, one of my best friends from high school, came up with the idea during finals season (when all the best ideas for procrastination are born)— we would continue to stay in touch with our weekly phone calls and random texts, but for our daily lives, pressing concerns and especially lengthy, interesting ideas, we would turn to the doc and write whatever and whenever we wanted.

The line that started it all.

Since its creation in December, the doc has become a hulking mass of 11 pt Helvetica Neue in dark shades (me) and colorful, adventurous fonts that sometimes give me headaches (Audrey) with enough bolding and highlighting and underlining to make it painfully clear that we’ve read and reread thoroughly. In it is everything from rom-com ideas to observations of weird behavior to crash courses in legal jargon to a ridiculously candid recap of rush.

As she says on page 43 (of our single-spaced document… impressive, I know), the doc has essentially become a conversation between journals that otherwise wouldn’t exist, and I know for sure that it’s the most productive thing I’ve done with time that would otherwise be spent actively avoiding my lists.

Even though I love the feeling of crossing another thing off my sticky notes and getting things done, I love my (semi) free time just as much, and finding a whole new page added to the Google Doc makes for a perfect break from whatever list is stuck to my computer for the day.

  • Audrey Glaser


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