After putting out my last paper as the Photo Editor of The Cornell Daily Sun last week, I started to feel a bit out of sorts. At first I thought it was because my sleep schedule was completely thrown off. I hadn’t gone to sleep until after 6AM and ended up sleeping in until 2:20PM on Friday with some attempted wake-ups in between and then, combined with an early wake-up on Saturday and a long, long day of sitting in the same room as we elected the 127th Editorial Board, I figured it was just all of the stress and sleep-deprivation of the last year catching up with me.
I spent literally all day Saturday with Sunnies. We had elections from 10:30AM until about 5:30PM, then I went out to dinner with some of the photo staff, then went home to change and back out to meet everyone at the traditional bar tab. We hung out all night - until about 1-1:30AM. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the term. I think it could easily be one of the best nights of my college career.
I woke up late today - sometime around 11 if I recall correctly. I immediately opened up my laptop and pulled up my email. Nothing out of the ordinary. Then it hit me. I only have MY OWN EMAIL to check. That’s it. Just one account. Luckily I had some facebook notifications waiting for me from the night before and that occupied my time for a bit, but the “out of sorts” feeling I’ve had these past few days pretty much turned into a mini state of depression. I IMed some of the editors who were online because I needed to do something and one of them reminded me to post the photos from the night before. I’d had the camera sitting across the room because I kind of felt that if I waited to upload them, I would be able to extend the night - pretend that it never actually ended.
So I grabbed my camera (it was the point and shoot) and downloaded the photos. I was IMing with Emily at the same time and mentioned to her that in each and every one of these shots, every single person - from the main subject to those who are just in the background doing their own thing - has the biggest smiles on their face and look like they’re having the night of their lives. It brought a smile to my face - a desperately needed smile considering the reality that was beginning to set in.
Every Sunday that we’ve been at school for the past year and then some, I’ve had to go to The Sun at 5PM for the weekly edit meeting. I’ve called Sundays my Sun-Days because I literally do nothing but Sun Stuff on Sundays. This Sunday was the first in a very long time where I had literally no responsibilities. I had NO IDEA what to do with myself.
Today pretty much felt like the longest day ever. I really couldn’t tell you what I spent my day doing because I don’t remember at all. Oh wait… I watched a movie. That’s right. I popped in Kate & Leopold (one of my Netflix movies), but kept dozing off. I’m pretty sure I saw the whole thing though. After that I think I just stared at my inbox for a while hitting the refresh button. I also checked my phone every five seconds. Do you know how weird it is not to get any emails or text messages for over an hour, or MORE?! I only got about FIVE emails today. TOTAL. And the only reason I had text messages was because I sent some out and one because a friend felt bad for my sorry state and sent a pity text.
After talking with Sarah (the now-former Managing Editor) and admitting that I felt like there was a giant hole in my life, she said she’d been feeling the same way all day. It seems that the post-elections Identity Crisis is something that happens every year but is something no one warns you about. A little heads-up would have been nice. Because this feeling? It’s not fun. I’ve been moping around all day mourning the loss of something that has consumed my life and has really defined my life for the last year as photo editor and another year before that as a staffer/senior photog. I’ve obviously known this entire time that some day it would come it an end. I even knew when and how it would come to an end, but I don’t think there is anything that could have prepared me for the huge sense of emptiness that comes along with it.
While I don’t particularly miss the whole checking-email-and-staying-up-til-ungodly-hours part of it just yet, I already miss the comfort of knowing that I will see the other editors all the time. I mentioned in my last post that we’d become a family over the course of this last year. I really don’t think I could find words to describe just how much of an impact these people have had on my life and how big of a role they played just by being there. Yeah yeah, so I said that I take comfort in the fact that I know we’ll see each other again throughout life, but there’s something different about a meeting here or there. There’s nothing like the relationship you have with people when you see them on a daily basis. When you spend hours and hours together and are working together toward a common goal for over a year. There’s really nothing that can make up for that.
So Sarah and I decided earlier today that we needed a reason to get up, get dressed, and leave our apartments. We decided to go to Ruloff’s trivia night but ended up going to CTB instead. I think that’s one of the best parts about going through this whole process as a team - we always know there’s someone else who’s feeling the exact same way you do. There’s comfort in numbers and it’s even better when you know you’re not alone in feeling like a pathetic, directionless loser who can’t even keep herself awake through an episode of How I Met Your Mother because you’re just that sad.
Back in my RYLA days we had a term called “RY-withdrawal” and it was used to describe the feeling of emptiness and loneliness that comes after a week at RYLA - when you get home and look around you and realize that your life is about to return to what most people would consider “normal,” but you want nothing more than for it to stay exactly as it has been. I remember getting RY-withdrawal, but it was nothing compared to the withdrawal you get after spending years doing something.
Sarah mentioned that a former EIC had told her earlier in the day that the SunSickness lasts for about 24 hours and then life begins to put itself back together. If that’s true then I should be back to normal in the morning, but considering that Monday was also a Sun-Day for me, I think it might take slightly longer. I think (I hope?) that by this time tomorrow night I’ll be back to my usual chipper self. This all may seem quite melodramatic and exaggeratory, and maybe it is. I might look back on this post in a week, a month, a year, and thing “wow, Jenn, what the hell was your issue? It’s not like it was the end of the world,” but right now it really does feel like the rug was just yanked out from beneath me. It’s the end of life as I’ve known it for almost 3/4 of my time in college. That’s a long time and to go from that to absolutely nothing is going to take a lot of adjusting.
Luckily tomorrow is a class day and I have a lot of work to do so hopefully I’ll be able to put this all out of my mind and get myself to move on. I don’t want to waste my last few months here being sad over what was. It’s just going to take some time.