At Cornell, the constant pressure to succeed academically can make a person feel like a passive bystander in their own life. I fell victim to this phenomenon last weekend, prior to a particularly daunting series of scheduled prelims. But just when all hope seemed lost, I remembered the words of climate activist and Oceanography Professor Bruce Monger. Following his advice, I did what any good oceanographer would do, and ditched all of my tests to hit the open road on my ‘97 Harley.
As I sped away from the stress of coursework and prelims, the cool autumn wind blowing through my hair, I couldn’t help but think to myself how free and in-control of my destiny I had become. No longer did I feel tied down by anyone’s expectations but my own.
Slowly but surely, I worked my way from coast to coast, sleeping in small town motels as I went. At the same time, back in Ithaca, my TA’s distributed the very tests that had transfixed me. But I had evaded their ghastly grasp. I felt as autonomous with regard to my future as I do with regard to my personal impact on ocean acidification.
I want to tell my story to the masses so that students who haven’t taken Bruce’s class won’t have to suffer needlessly. Your life is in your hands. There’s nothing forcing you to walk in and take those prelims, just like there’s nobody stopping you from standing up and demanding real action on climate change. Yes, I have a 1.7 GPA now, but my destiny needs me more than turtles need metal straws dammit! I have arrived, Bruce! I have arrived!