While I continuously express otherwise, my optimistic dad keeps telling me that I’m leaving college with general skills like how to write and how to communicate, even if he isn’t exactly sure what my degree is in. He isn’t particularly wrong, but I am by no means an adult apart from sending emails or driving a Colorado College van.
I have some growing up to do in terms of both eating enough to sustain myself and throwing away brown shoes that were once white (which my resident balcony squirrel has shat in more than once), but I especially have to stop making excuses for myself. I have some un-learning to do, and for every essay the Block Plan pushes me to write in lightning speed, it reminds me it’s also okay to be kind of the worst.
Maybe I cannot speak for all students here, but I find myself liking to one-up people with how stressed I am, ghosting romantic interests here and there, and releasing stress in some more than unhealthy ways. But hey: “it’s the Block Plan.”
Academically, yes, I feel prepared to hyperfocus with composure in whatever I decide to do for the next few years, and sitting in the same spot for hours at a time will not phase me. How I talk about it, however, is a totally different story.
I kept a tally on my hand today with how many times I greeted someone and then proceeded to tell them how stressed I was, while they did the same to me. I stopped at 17. All of them were upperclassmen, and all but two credited this stress to the Block Plan. Around half of these people proceeded to talk about how much they have been or were going to drink because of the Block Plan building so much stress and how little stability they felt they had.
There’s a reason people come to this school, and I find it hard to believe that it’s because everyone is a raging masochist. The Block Plan works for so many people for so many reasons, but so does the semester system almost every other institution uses. Our learning system is unique, but students here are by no means special, and time management is likely more of an issue than the block itself.
I have found that, for some reason, students here expect other students to take, “Sorry, something super important came up, let’s reschedule,” and “I know we had dinner plans in an hour, but I’m stressed. Haha, Block Plan,” as an acceptable excuse every single time. If everyone experiences the Block Plan, then everyone must be sympathetic to everything being “too much.”
Block Plan or not, some classes are entirely soul-crushing, but talking about the entire system as if it is going to rule our lives benefits no one. A new block should never be a reason to lose touch with someone because everyone’s adjusting their routines, and everyone still needs consistent friends — especially friends who actually say they need space, rather than blaming it on now having afternoon lab.
The Block Plan is our absolute favorite excuse at CC, and I don’t blame anyone for using it to justify their worst qualities or even just not explaining anything going on in their lives in honest detail. Being flaky, however, isn’t exactly something everyone will always understand.
And so, my New Year’s resolution is to take the Block Plan out of my lexicon. I will do my best to not expect to be stressed all the time, knowing that the loudest person in the room isn’t always working the hardest. For sure, every member of CC I walk by knows that I too am on the Block Plan, and that does not change if I don’t make a comment about scrambling to get by. I probably didn’t call my friend because I forgot or because I put off my paper. I also didn’t say hi to that person at that party because biology has been so stressful … We suck sometimes just because we do. That’s about it. Go a week without saying the words “stress” or “Block Plan.”
Granted, I probably won’t.