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Opening a window...

 

Coming back from Spring Break can be like that extra hour of sleep we lost when daylight savings time took over our clocks: it’s hard at first, we’re groggy and yawning, but eventually our bodies readjust and we forge ahead.

Nobody is exactly doing cartwheels across campus and bounding into classrooms first thing on Monday singing ‘Oh, what a beautiful morning,’ but we know what we have to do, what’s at stake and we get it done. And for those faculty and staff members who also enjoyed a week away from our winning smiles and academia in general, it’s just as tough. But they return, ready to challenge and help us as we take another step toward our ultimate goal: graduation.

So it is with that perspective, I approach my return and the remainder of the semester, not really knowing what’s ahead, but anticipating the bloom to actually open and the smell to be intoxicatingly addictive, for all of us involved. Sure, it may not be all honeysuckle and wild roses wafting through our airspace and eventually hitting our noses, but it will be interesting and life-changing, no matter the aroma. 

Recently, there was an article in the Los Angeles Times about a very rare and unusual plant that is native to the jungles of Sumatra, ‘titan arum,’ that is being housed at Cornell University. Apparently this green entity, also known as the corpse plant for its odor, is getting ready to bloom and the rarity of the experience is so monumental that Cornell is livestreaming the event so that people can actually watch its malodorous petals open. According to the article, the leaf itself can grow as high as 25 feet and the bloom that emerges from its center can rise even higher. The stench of the plant is said to be that of rotting flesh, hence the nickname. When asked how you stand the smell, Karl Niklas, a professor of plant biology at Cornell, said, “You open the window.”

Now I’m certainly not comparing our return to the college experience to the blooming of the corpse plant, well ... maybe I am, a little anyway. 

What I mean is, after a week away from the grind of studying, homework and class visitations, we all may have gotten a little spoiled by not having to adhere to our normal routines. And I’ll have to admit, it was nice not having to rush home from work and tackle homework every night. But, by the same token, the payoff is well worth the hardship. The opportunities that are wide open to us through education and hard work is just as amazing as the rare and oddly exquisite ‘titan arum.’ And while it may be tough to handle each and every day, we’ll do it and we’ll be thankful for it.

And when we think it’s more than we can handle, more than we can tackle with all the other responsibilities, problems and crises that may arise, we’ll appreciate our advantages and simply open a window.

 

Angela Rogalski is a print journalism senior who lives in Abbeville. Follow her on Twitter @abbeangel.