Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Big Race

I am not, nor have I ever been a runner.  Somehow, almost all of my friends here at Calvin are.  My housemates run, some more regularly than others, my boyfriend and his housemates run; it seems like everyone I’m friends with runs!  One of the highlights of their running year is the Grand Rapids Riverbank Run the first weekend of each May.  I went along my freshman year, but I wasn’t able to go last spring so I didn’t want to miss it this year.  I love being the one there for my friends to hold their sweatshirts while they run and cheer them on when they finish. 

My roommate Lindsey runs and her parents, who live in Ann Arbor, always try to come to Grand Rapids for her races.  I stick with them on race day.  We hold water bottles and give back rubs before the race begins, and of course we take pre-race pictures.

As soon as our runners take off, we hop in the van and hurry to a good spot to cheer them on along the way.  Lots of people are zipping from cheering spot to cheering spot along the race route, and we all have fun helping each other look for our runners.  We usually try to hit two or three spots while they’re running before rushing back to the finish line to see them cross. 

After the race everything is incredibly chaotic.  There are all sorts of runners and friends and family milling around, trying to find other people they know.  There are food tents set up for the runners to rehydrate and stock up on some of the energy they’ve just expended.  There’s very much a festival-esque feeling throughout the crowd.
The race was on the first day of exams for Calvin this year, and I had an exam that evening so as soon as we got home I headed straight for the library to do some final studying, and that’s the place where I’ve spent most of my waking hours since then.  Exam week is crazy and hectic and stressful and also kind of a lot of fun.  Everyone goes a little stir crazy, spending so many hours cooped up inside trying their hardest to remember that one little fact that they just *know* is going to be on the test.  My housemates and I have a pair of fake glasses that are our “A+” glasses.  They are only for use when you feel overwhelmed by your studying and wonder how you’ve ever been smart enough to pull a passing grade before.  That’s when you need the glasses to make you feel intelligent and successful again.  It might sound superstitious, but I promise we’re good Christian girls.  We just need a little reminder to be confident from time to time. 

There are lots of late nights and early mornings filled with an abundance of caffeinated drinks and sugar-filled snacks, which causes even the most even-keeled student to get the giggles now and again.  Every table in the library is filled from the time the building opens at 8 a.m. to its close at 2 a.m.  People basically live there for the week.  Aaron got so tired of studying that he took a nap under our table the other day.  Oddly enough, this is not at all uncommon (for him or any other student).

It’s actually a very social time of year for the library.  You see people you hardly ever see during the semester, because everyone is in the same building for so many hours of every day.  People will also smile at each other more willingly, as though to say “Yes, I know you’re going mad, and so am I, but we’re in this together, co-studying friend!”  I’m not saying finals are my favorite thing, but it does create a vibrant atmosphere in the library, and a sense of kinship among students who don’t even know each other.

Posted by Emily MacLeod on 05/14 at 03:23 PM

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