JanuaryMy college has this thing called January term. Actually, that’s not what it’s officially called, but I can never remember its real name because they change it practically every year. It always works more or less the same way, though: In between fall term and spring term, there’s a four-week-long term where students take one class that follows a more intensive schedule than a regular college class. Still, I’ve always found that I have an awful lot more free time in January than at any point in a real semester. Despite that, I’m not really a big fan of January term. Coming back from Christmas break is already disorienting, and I don’t like the fact that my schedule is going to completely change again in just a month. This just makes it harder to get back into the swing of things now. But that’s the inevitable downside of being compulsively organized about my time.

In September and February, I enjoy the beginning of a new term. There’s a much greater degree of optimism and academic enthusiasm than later in the semester, when the homework load has gotten heavier and everyone’s getting tired. Besides, I’m so fond of list-making that I enjoy the process of writing out a new schedule and re-determining what things are important enough to me that I must try to find some free time to spend on them. That’s not the way it works in the beginning of January, though. Right now, I’m just trying to remember what matters to me and what kinds of things I like to do. For the last three weeks or so, my life has revolved completely around Christmas. I’ve listened to Christmas music, eaten Christmas foods, blogged about Christmas, and deliberately ignored anything that I knew wouldn’t matter until after Christmas. And, of course, I’ve been sleeping up late, spending too much time online, and joining in games and Doctor-Who-watching with my siblings. Before that, I was busy with finals and with rehearsals for The Nutcracker, and there hadn’t really been any such thing as free time since early-to-mid November. That was such a long time ago that I can’t really remember the specific details of how life worked back then. All I know is that it felt very weird yesterday to be in my dorm room by four in the afternoon and not to have someplace to go that evening. I had quite a lot of things to get done and ended up being relatively busy, but it was very strange to spend a quiet evening in my room when I’d long since forgotten that there was any such thing as a quiet evening.

This January, I’m taking a class about relativity and space and time and stuff, ‘cause I’m just kind of a nerd like that. Also, this way, in the future I’ll be somewhat more justified in making up convoluted explanations for things by talking about the space-time continuum. The only problem is that my ideas about the space-time continuum aren’t necessarily scientifically accurate and probably only work in my own science-fiction framework. They just happen to be cooler than the actual rules of physics. At some point, I’m going to write at least one blog post about my idea of time gravity, even though I’m pretty sure there’s no such thing in real life.

Yesterday was the first day of January term,  and we spent most of the class period talking about stuff like Galileo and Newton. I did take high school physics when I was seventeen, so it was pretty much review. That’s good because I’m still not completely better from the nasty cold I had over New Year’s, so my brain wasn’t very focused. The part of the class that I got the most out of was the part about inertia. Of course, I already knew what inertia is; I’ve often heard it defined as “the tendency of an object at rest to stay at rest and of an object in motion to stay in motion”, and also as a word that my father thinks sounds like it should be a girl’s name. For the sake of this class, though, we defined it as “the property that resists change.” That’s just a concise version of the typical definition, but I like it better because the word “change” is ambiguous enough to open up a variety of semi-metaphorical uses of the word “inertia”. For example, I like to use the phrase “academic inertia” to refer to the phenomenon in which it is actually easier to force yourself to do overwhelming amounts of schoolwork when you have way too much homework to do than to force yourself to spend a couple hours on homework when you’ve just come back from a break and have forgotten how hard homework can be. But now I’ve decided that I can also blame inertia for the fact that I dislike having my schedule change.

Maybe my father’s right; maybe Inertia would make a good name, and maybe I should change my middle name to Inertia, since I don’t like change. Either that, or Oswin. I would really like to change my middle name to Oswin.

This is Oswin. Oswin is very, very cool.

This is Oswin. Oswin is very, very cool.