Empathy on Steroids (not the drug)

I’ve been thinking for a long time about how to put this into words, and it hasn’t been easy. Heck, I’m not even sure the following words will be the best way to explain it. Even so, they’re the only words I have right now, and I hope you’ll be able to understand all the same.

Maybe you remember that time in your childhood when you knew for certain that something you’d done or said was wrong. I’m talking about the immediate feeling afterwards that comes from observing the effect, such as seeing the other kid look sad or start crying. It’s the feeling that tells you that you messed up, and that it wasn’t right that something you did hurt the other person. For me, it’s always felt like a pit that opens in my chest, somewhere above my stomach. It appears instantly, and depending on the situation, the hole may or may not close. It’s the feeling that compels you to apologize, to try making up for what you did. It’s a learning moment, one in which we begin to understand what empathy is.

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The Strange Sorrow of Summertime

Huh…sounds like the title of a novel. I’m not sure whether it would be a good novel or not, but I digress.

During every semester before a break, I yearn for said break. I look at everything I have to do for class, look at personal errands beside those tasks, and I count the days until I can be lazy as possible. The things I like to do when lazy during a break sometime manifest most clearly when I procrastinate for one reason or another. I watch YouTube videos, play a bit on my characters in an MMORPG, or browse the Internet mindlessly. When I’m in the thick of coursework and all the stress that comes with it, I wish for nothing more than respite in the form of not having to do anything related to academia.

The break we take for Summer is the shining jewel in the crown of this hope. IΒ don’t just get weeks—IΒ getΒ months. There is suddenly so much time to spend pretty much however I want to spend it, and after all the stress of this last Spring semester in particular, this specific Summer break was something I sorely needed. I dreamed about not having to wake up early to catch a bus to campus for class, and instead being able to wake up whenever to do whatever as I pleased (for the most part). I reasoned that it would be a wonderful way to recover and prepare for my last semester (!!!) of undergraduate studies, and where Spring was hectic, Summer would be swell.

And then…then I remembered why part of me always gets sad around this time.

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