My partner and I met up the other day and talked about our empathy exercise. We discussed how we realized how the idea was to notice other people’s actions and observe other people. Instead we both felt we were drawn to notice a lot about ourselves. However, I felt I usually noticed not just myself but also it turned into a general awareness. I would think about what I was experiencing on my walk from my dorm to class. It was like I had become hypersensitive to the world around me, and how I interacted with complete strangers who I was walking past. I remember the exercise we did in the beginning of the year where we anonymously wrote something we struggled with on a piece of paper. Everyone in the class had all sorts of things going on that I would never be able to tell. When I thought about that I realized that this is true with everyone. I have no idea what is happening with the person who is waiting in line in front of me in Procter. This exercise made me really notice how I responded to people especially when they were complete strangers.
You can tell the end of the semester is approaching because the library feels more crowded. I walked down on the first floor to sit in my usual spot, which had been taken. I then searched for another place, which made me procrastinate even more as I stopped and talked to the friends I passed. Eventually I find my place and notice all the people focused in on their work. Everyone has a ton of work, but everyone has an array of other things happening in their lives too that may be adding more unwanted stress.
Suddenly the temperature drops especially when the sun sets behind the mountains. Everyone walks quickly as they adjust to the colder temperature, and people are also bundled up. Slowly I realize I’m wearing more and more layers: coat, sweatshirt, hat, etc. As I sit in my room doing my homework I realized my window is open, and I can feel the chill coming in through the window. I enjoy the fresh air but put on a sweatshirt to keep at a comfortable temperature. Not only does the weather get colder, but it is dark earlier and earlier. When I walked out of my 4:05 today it seemed as though the sun was already setting. Winter is coming.
I lie in bed trying to fall asleep. I can hear the few doors opening and closing outside my room. The sink is running while someone brushes their teeth. There is music playing from somewhere below. However, the dorm seems still and quiet this late at night.
I sit in the grill and notice the mumbled conversations coming from all sides. I can hear the conversation about the exam tomorrow or the guy she wants to talk to from the other night. I sit and listen to the low volume conversations, but I’m trying to focus on my conversation.
I sit in the lobby with headphones quietly blasting music, but I can still hear the people around me. I hear the crunching of granola from the girl across from me. I can hear the pencil scratching the paper. I hear someone talking to her mom on the phone complaining about work. Meanwhile, I have five hundred thoughts running through my mind.
As I walk across campus I can’t help but notice all the costumes: cheerleader, spiderman, and even a banana. Not only do the costumes take up paths, but a full moon lights the sky creating creepy shadows. The scary shadow in the corner turns out to just be a tree, but I’m stills spooked. Halloweek is among us.
As I pondered what homework to tackle next, I noticed myself picking up on every little sound. One person is aggressively typing on their computer while their neighbor is scribbling down notes from a textbook. Another person is chomping on their gum while simultaneously jamming to their music that can be heard through their headphones. Across the room someone just fumbled their pencil. All of these people seem to be productive in their own ways, so now I feel I should start my next reading assignment and stay aware of my noise pollution in the library.