I’m Only Here for the Old Brick Buildings

About the author: Ashley is in the midst of her first year at Oregon State University, just finishing her second quarter to be exact.

It is week nine and I’m tired as a brick.

I say brick because I’m surrounded by these beautiful brick buildings that are mostly what get me to class on gray-sky mornings. And because I am surrounded by a sort of copper-maroon and Mom always told me red was my color. I say brick because they are the heaviest things and the tallest things I see every day and somehow I still lose track of them, sometimes. They are tipping towards the sky, buried in the buildings, stretching higher and being pushed lower with every sunrise.

And I say brick because sometimes their purpose is just to be part of a building you know, to be buried under well-meaning windows and pillars, to be copper-maroon and heavy and tall at once.

And I am tired. So tired. I just got off a four-hour evening shift at the library (it’s 10:37 right now, as I write this sentence), and before that it was a group debate meeting, and before that more work at the library, and before that morning classes. I just walked back to my dorm and my legs felt every jolt of the sidewalk, and my ribs were sky-cold.

But look. I’m tired as a brick, but it’s a wonderful sort of place to be. I’ve done everything I thought I wanted to do when I first arrived at college. If college could be simplified down to a checklist, I’ve checked almost all the boxes. I joined a research team, a club, and a cultural program… got a job, went to parties, found a boy, got dumped. (I suppose I didn’t really want that last checked box… but I did want the experience, I think, even if I would’ve picked differently when and how I got it.) And most recently, dragged myself to the gym— which was the most difficult thing I’ve done, partly, I think, because it’s cold concrete and not a beautiful brick building like the rest. But I did it, my last checked item, just a couple weeks ago, actually.

And I never really meant to check all the boxes. Well, I sort of did: I knew I wanted a boy, and I knew I wanted (needed) to get to the gym, and I knew I wanted to be involved on campus. But things, well, they fell into place, sort of, and although there are still pieces I am missing, still shaping and searching for, I am tired but happy-tired, even though it’s now 10:52 and I need to be up early tomorrow morning.

And I’m tired as a brick. But it’s a good kind of tired, an inspired kind of tired, the kind you get when you’re buried under well-meaning pillars and windows but they’re something, right, and you’re just a brick, but you’re part of something. That kind of tired.

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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