By Matthew Moore
Moore is a creative writing major who adds his own spin to this satirical column for reader enjoyment. All names are fictional.
Latest research results show that dreams at Seton Hill University are down 23.5%. When presented with the results, students and faculty alike showed concern. The results summarize what we all know and what we all see in almost a quarter of the passing faces – there’s an undercurrent too taboo to bring up in the presence of shiny school brochures and advertised successes. This problem cannot be ignored any longer. It must be recognized in order to be dealt with. It cannot simply be distracted with an iPad and downloadable applications.
One undergrad, Tim Byrant, was found sitting on the couch in fourth floor Administration. The student had his head in his hands as the sun was being devoured by the horizon. Deep in contemplation, he had clearly not moved for decades. “I don’t know what happened,” he explained as the dust stirred from his shoulders. “It was going so well, but I sit here tonight long past the end of my classes and I’m afraid I might have to euthanize my dreams. I know, there are obvious ethical issues involved, but my dreams,” Bryant said, “they’re badly injured.”
Later that night, as the snow came down and Seton Hill was painted white, Angie Solomon, a psychology major reflected on the results. “Sometimes at night I dream in metaphor about the greatness I formerly claimed to be aspiring to. I feel like I’m stuck between the ambiguity of mind and reality. It’s frightening to think that at this very moment I’m becoming a memory of who I wanted to be and who my parents were so proud to send off to college.”
Every dream torn from the future can go on to have repercussions not only for the student who used to claim ownership, but also for a student’s current and future families. At 23.5%, society is being deprived of hundreds of once-enthusiastic aspirations. The movie “What if I was Never Born?” plays all around us.
“At first I wanted to change the world,” recollected freshman Scott Dunn. “Then my world became very small and tedious. I wanted to develop my own projects at Seton Hill but soon MLA was always knocking at my door to collect time… When it gets to be too much I run and lock myself in the janitor’s closet. No one knows what it’s like to tell all of your problems to a mop and bucket.”
But as revealed by this study, people do know what it’s like. One student was sitting at his own table in the cafeteria with dreams stacked all around him. “These aren’t mine,” said Nick Taylor. “I collect the dreams left behind. Sometimes they’re dropped in the hallway, and sometimes I even see them roll out from a student’s chair when the professor says a series of particularly informative or complex directions. I scoop them up as little mementoes before they dissipate as though they never existed.” Taylor said one dream always stays on his mind. “This stunningly beautiful woman left all of her dreams outside of her car and then drove off. I never saw her again. It’s sad, I think, because when I picked her dreams up off the pavement I saw that she only wanted to graduate and get a decent job to help the poor. She knew what it was like growing up without enough food. Her dreams weren’t designated with activities and places, but with malnourished faces.”
Remember how the return of the springtime sun feels? It always comes back, and with it comes the triumphant feeling of finishing an arduous march through the school year. Hold on, study, and threaten to turn Seasonal Affective Disorder into a newt. It’s not how difficult the journey may be at times, gathering the skills necessary for a better future will prove invaluable. The alternative is unacceptable. That’s when a Vonnegut enthusiast chases you down the college driveway while shouting, “Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are ‘It might have been!’”
Another helping hand to getting through the days and keeping your dreams breathing is to take classes outside of your major. Whether this is picking up a minor or taking a class you’ve always wondered about, the change of pace and subject will expand your university experience. Take your English skills to a music class. Walk into a ballet class and say, “Hello, is this the warrior academy?” Maybe it will save your dreams from shattering on the floor. Maybe it’ll save you from the trappings of daytime television when you’re old and wrinkled and wondering what you’ve done with your life (unless that is your dream).
Sophomore, Julie Hazel, who was parading her dreams around like a toy poodle dyed pink and placed in a designer purse said, “Don’t forget to exercise. Exercise will help you feel better not only physically but mentally. You don’t have to keep up with the football team or run outside in spandex at 5:30 in the morning, but exerting physical energy outside of your normal routine will make the other events in your life seem a little less burdensome.”
For further help, if you’re having difficulties with your coursework, never underestimate the value of gaining friends or joining student groups. Sarah Lewis, a communications major said, “You might have to hide in the bushes until you can inconspicuously slip into a promising social situation, but it’ll be worth it and the bushes will help keep your dreams warm. Trust me, I’m a communications major.”
To summarize, the best advice came from a janitor named Bob Shultz. He was pulling a troubled student away from his mop and bucket when the study results were presented. “I’m glad you asked for my input,” Shultz said. “You don’t know how many times I almost broke my neck on the dream-littered stairs. I think humility is a large part of it; realizing that making a dent in the world is a huge accomplishment. Disillusionment doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Doing all you can is respected far and above being down on yourself and then doing nothing at all.”
At this, the freshman student holding onto the bucket let go and walked away without further comment.
23.5%. If you find yourself drowning in a sea of knowledge and assignments, take this valuable advice – keep going or go down swinging. Your future self will thank you for it, and that’s always better than your future self trying to punch you in the nose of regret.