How to End the School Year? Here Are 6 (Fun) Ways to Do ItJuly 12, 2021

The spring session began, but you were thinking of the end of the school year. Your (geeky) cousin reminded you that you wouldn't find a more loyal friend than a book, a thought that made your brother suppressed his laughter. He described his journey in Vietnam not long ago, of meeting Pablo, a native of Seville, Spain, and Rosa, his girlfriend, who hailed from Zaragoza. They were a nice couple, he thought, but he didn't understand Pablo reading a paperback on philosophy (during the trip). The landscape captivated your brother, highlighting the boulders dotting the uneven terrain. Your brother cut his narrative short, as he asked you about pandemic burnout. And he told you, for the nth time, to stay away from books that were very unattractive reading. But the term hasn't concluded. Yet. Fifteen minutes of idle time should be devoted to a (grand) plan of how to end it, if not celebrate your seeming victory on how you handle the pandemic. Where to start?

Your professor once said that he taught mythology not as a study, but as a relaxation from the study. Thomas Bulfinch's depiction of Greek mythology didn't help at all. (You got tired of holding a hardbound copy of Bulfinch's collection of stories while reading another version of Proserpine's tale.) You were about to ask your coursemates, but the topic of conversation made you wary of them. (Does the Chinese government influence Australian universities? You don't have a clue. You don't want to ask your tutor, who might scold you for asking such a question during this time of the school year.) Perhaps your brother was right. He turned out to be a lifesaver (of a sort), as he told you about how Belgian students sang a medley of beer songs (to mark the end of the school year). You tried to imagine yourself (and your coursemates) singing a couple of Bee Gees songs. (A flatmate, who is a native of Guadalajara, Mexico, thought that the Bee Gees were Australia's worst contribution to the world. You were about to argue until you saw him listening to his favourite song by Billy Idol.) You were about to ask your brother if he really witnessed a bunch of students singing beer songs when your mother reminded you about cleaning the garage (after the end of the term). That is not the way of doing it.

The Alternatives Are Often Much, Much Worse

Prizegiving. You faced a grim succession of challenges, so it would be nice to give each one a present. It doesn't have to be a Speedo, but you could promise a coursemate to show him/her how to capture an Instagram-worthy shot (while riding the waves), if not how to be the coolest surfer (this summer). If you're feeling generous, you might want to wrap your present in a cashmere blanket. It might have a lasting psychological impact, but make sure that a lucky coursemate won't use it during a sweltering day in the gym.

Fancy a "Fancy Fair"? You were a bit amused at your brother when he recalled watching a group of tinies performing a dance routine in bikinis. There was a tinge of nostalgia, prompting you to wonder if it was a huge mistake to scrap that plan to travel with your old mates last, last summer. (Phuket didn't excite you.) How about a "Wild West" theme? You can do it in a safe, responsible manner. (Virtual meeting. Your favourite beer. And listening to Tom Cochrane's "Life is a Highway".) If you're thinking of inviting an international student, who happens to be one more coursemate (in the list), then make sure that sensibilities won't be offended.

Gym day. You (secretly) detested your father arguing about how the pandemic turned your generation into whimpered children. There might be a lack of rigor in the remote study, but it doesn't mean it's less challenging than face-to-face learning. As a matter of fact, one of your coursemates admitted that he was unable to set boundaries (for paper writing). He wasn't the only one who warmed up to the idea of spending a day in the gym. (You don't remember the last time you sweat it out.) Running and jumping are other options, as long as no one would break his promise.

Roasting marshmallows on a giant bonfire. Your tutor might join you IF you would make a shortlist of (interesting) topics of conversation. Forget the global impact of Black Lives Matter (BLM), which you can write about it next term. (Your professor must approve it first, though.) And it would be foolish to debate on the extent of the pandemic, if not the return of the lockdown, after reading all the (latest) news on the lambda variant. (Your flatmate might turn defensive.) You could talk about your weakness on Lego blocks, as you recalled your delight when your brother gave you a box of Sembo blocks. (He bought it in Ipoh, Malaysia. You were able to build a convenience store, which stood on your study table.) Toys would be a good distraction - and a great topic of conversation.

Name your writer-friendly cafe. You told your coursemates (and tutor) that you were struggling to find inspiration while writing your essays. Perhaps your room isn't writer-friendly enough. It made you remember your cousin's visit to the Elephant House (in Edinburgh), where J.K. Rowling wrote the Potter books. Did the coffee and cake inspired her? Was it the owner's collection of elephant figurines? It made you look at your Lego blocks. You might have to look at it often. Your coursemates could reveal their interests, of where they get their inspiration, and one or two could be a product of pressure and stress brought by the pandemic.

Get out. It might be months since the sunshine shone on your face.

Is This Real?

You might ask yourself if the above suggestions sound too foreign, if not crappy, but it's all about keeping an open mind. If your professor (or tutor) hasn't told you, then it should be helpful during this time; you're about to read Floyd Zulli"s "An Invitation to Great Reading". This hardbound is included in your reading list, and it might give you some insights on your next assignment.

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