Quit Your Books and Grab Your Hippi Skirts!

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     I constantly feel busy and anxious.  I write numerous notes and post-it reminders...let's not even mention the continuous "list of things to do today" that never quite gets finished.  I'm one of those students who never thinks that I'm prepared for a test.  Even if I know the information up and down and backwards, I feel like I could study for another hour-just to be sure. 

I felt like William Wordsworth was writing directly to me when he penned The Tables Turned.  I know that books and education are important, but sometimes it is necessary to "Up!up! my Friend, and quit your books."  The message to put down your work and studies to spend time in the sunshine isn't a new theory, but it's one that people need to be reminded of constantly. 

After a full day of classes and writing papers, I wonder why I go to bed achy and grouchy.  I know I'm not the only college student who has put off a beautiful walk in the park for an extra hour in the library, and I'm certainly guilty of taking one too many aspirins for sore muscles when I know their due to lack of exercise.  Wordsworth speaks the truth when he writes


"She has a world of ready wealth,

Our minds and hearts to bless-

Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,

Truth breathed by cheerfulness. (20)"


He continues by saying that a springtime tree (vernal wood-I had to look that one up) can teach you more about good and evil than the wisest professor, and that sometimes it is better to be inspired by the beauty of life, rather than dissecting it and tearing it apart in science and art class.  Overall, the piece has a very bohemian feel to it.  It's a beautiful piece to read aloud, and it's one that may get printed out and posted above my desk.  Wordsworth has inspired me to spend some time outside tomorrow.  It doesn't matter if it's sunny or not.  Any others want to close their "Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife."  Let's go for a walk...


Dave said:

I could relate to this poem for the opposite reason. I tend to be one of those people who could do with significantly more studying...perhaps then I could even get some of these blogs done on time. Granted, I don't spend a great deal of my recreation time, (at least when I'm here, and not out in the west) frolicing in the woods. Still the idea of learning about life from experience rather than studying is similar.
Anyway, for me this poem is less of a reminder than that little voice in the back of my head that I have to shut up in order to manage going to school, etc. I far too frequently give in to this romantic notion. This is evident, as I graduated high school early, right after I turned 17, and am now 24 and still without a BA (By modernist standards I should have a masters) Then again, I guess the poem reminds me that all those sporadic years and semesters off were usefull learning experiences rather than utter wastes of time.

Dianna Griffin said:

Carissa, as I am reading your blog, I am also staring at a bright orange post-it note that is telling me what needs to be done. I also blogged about this poem, and I believe that we students have way too much work to do. We and our professors are taking nature's gifts for granted! Now, I am not going to start a protest here and boycott homework, but come on can't we get a break every now and then. Thanks for the support Wordsworth :).

Carissa Altizer said:

Dave, I understand what you're saying, but if you would have gone to college immediately after high school, would you have studied in the same major or would you analyze things the same way? You're right, those years in-between school taught you a lot. I know that I learned more working at the Bedford Springs Resort my senior year than I did in the classroom. I think in the end, experience is just as, if not more important than being taught theory.

At least my planner feels loved, right? As I read this poem, I wished that I could really do as Wordsworth suggests. I'm just too worried all the time about getting everything done, and I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to writing papers so I spend a lot more time than any normal person when writing. The closest I can get to nature is my walk to class. Just for fun, here's a picture I took on my way to class: I'd love to actually be able to sit outside and watch the sunset.

Dave said:

Carissa, I definately agree. Had I not taken that time off several times, I would probably have never started writing, and I'd probably be just finishing up with a degree in Pharmacy (The one I had originally looked at was a 6 year program). I would probably be rather unhappy with this.
Then again, had I not eventually dragged myself back to school, I'd still be bartending, or possibly in prison. Which would also suck.

So, in reality there needs to be a balance, which I think this poem touches upon, as it is one extreme reacting against the other.

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