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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
The Observer

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Is it over for me?

On Monday, a friend of mine was telling me about his eclipse experience. He did not want to watch it from South Quad, so he drove an hour to a forest with a few friends for a better experience.

He explained that at the peak of the eclipse when the forest was completely dark, the animals went haywire. It made sense why they would, but I had not thought about how the animals would have reacted to the eclipse.

I tried to think about how the experience would be as a squirrel in the forest. Maybe I’d leave my hole to fetch some nuts for my family (I don’t know anything about squirrels). A beautiful, sunny day is suddenly overcome by darkness. Then, in my darkest hour, with a mouth full of nuts, I would ask myself: “Is it over for me?” In a fit of existential dread, I would start running aimlessly and, eventually, be unable to find my way back to my children to feed them.

“Is it over for me?” is a question I have either asked or been asked every week this semester. The question is simple, but also deeply saddening.

At first, the question was a reference to a TikTok “brain-rot” joke. People would post videos showcasing their faces and bodies with the caption: “Is it over for me?” Most of the time, the people posting were not conventionally attractive, so all of the comments would say “Bro is one of us” or “It’s over for you,” which meant they considered the person in the video to be both unattractive and lacking potential.

In my section, the question has evolved into a way to ask if you are in a zugzwang — the inescapable position in chess where, no matter which way you move, you will be checkmated.

Unfortunately, I, as well as many people in my circle, have been put into zugzwangs this semester.

One of my friends received a 55% on his corporate finance midterm and had to decide whether or not to drop the class. If he were to drop the class, he would have to switch his supplemental major to a minor. If he stuck with it, he risked failing the course or tanking his GPA.

Another one of my friends spent the past years waiting for a girl to give him a chance, and two weeks after they went on a date, she got back together with her ex-boyfriend. If he texted her to say his piece, she would cut him off for good.

I was put in the position this week where I had to choose to drop either my second major, study abroad program or summer internship.

Sometimes circumstances force us to make decisions where we must sacrifice something. Sometimes we mess up so badly that we can’t even just "lock-in" to pass a class. Sometimes we think “it’s over for me.” Usually, in these situations, we feel like we have to take some sort of action.

However, I learned that doing nothing is a valid course of action — no matter how stuck you feel.

My friend who messed up on the corporate finance exam was about to drop the class before I told him that the syllabus says you can replace your worst midterm with your final exam grade. We’re rooting for him.

My other friend stayed silent and let her be. She realized a month later that she wanted to see him again and messed up by getting back with her ex.

I did not drop any of the three, even though I felt like I had to. I got a sponsor for summer classes and worked out a schedule to take the courses in the summer that does not conflict with my internship.

If the squirrel had just waited for the conditions to change rather than running wild, it would have had no trouble making it back safely.

So, if you ever ask yourself “is it over for me?” — it most likely isn’t. Give yourself some time to think it over before you do anything crazy.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.