The Eighth Page

Rituals of Upper Spring

I’m a pretty ritualistic man. You may tap the wall separating Abbot Campus from the rest of the school for good luck, but I sit down with it and ask it how it’s feeling—what its dreams and ambitions are. At least once every day I have to belt out the lyrics to a Natasha Bedingfield song at the top of my lungs, and if it’s not sufficiently off pitch, I take it from the top. Every morning I fill a cup nearly full with 1 percent milk, making sure to add a dollop (if milk can be dispensed in dollops) of 2 percent, because that’s how I like it. If it ain’t 1.3 percent, it ain’t milk, as the old Scandinavian adage goes. The list goes on and on, but hopefully by this juncture you get the idea. So in the spirit of ritual, I’ve devised three habits that, with a bit of luck, will enable the common man to get through that ancient Mayan sacrifice we’ve so cheerfully dubbed Upper Spring. A recent study showed 61 percent of Uppers do not finish the grueling term. With the help of this guide, maybe you (yeah, you… that hat really isn’t working for you) can be amongst the proud and elite that survive. Get plenty of sunshine: Remember, there’s one good thing about Upper Spring–it’s spring! The weather is nice, so take a frolic, smell the daffodils and freak someone out by following them home. It’s all good in the springtime. Just don’t get too into nature; you don’t want to tread into bearded guy living in the sanctuary territory. Although in his defense, Greg is a great guy. Has a little trouble communicating is all, but a dynamite beard if you ask me. It’s really got a Tom Hanks in Cast Away kind of feel. Restriction is your friend: Granted, he’s not a great friend. He smells, and he accidentally killed your cat, but you’ve known each other so long that you’re stuck with him now. In a term like Upper Spring, the more time you’re on restriction, the more time you’re spending on work, which, let’s face it, is the ultimate goal. If you’re allowed out of your room, you might be tempted by a rousing round of Connect Four or a particularly good episode of Sex and the City. So go ahead, take a cheap shot at that kid you never really liked, curse out your least favorite teacher’s significant other or just stop showing up to class. It’s all in a quest for the greater good. Dignity schmignity… Wow, that’s hard to say: For those of you who have yet to master the ability to cry on demand, a few things: one, what have you been doing with your life? Two, get on it ASAP. I don’t care if you were going to learn the guitar or study for AP’s over the next few weeks. You will never learn a more useful craft, and breaking out the waterworks after receiving a bad grade guarantees an average of an additional 7 points. Sure, teachers will have a little bit of an ethical dilemma. But for your entire academic career, they’ve assumed that you have at least a semblance of shame, and displaying exactly the opposite might be just pathetic enough for them to raise your grade, if only because they won’t have to look at you. Plus, hey, if all else fails, just say take out your anger at That’s about as pathetic as you can get.