Sometimes, it’s really hard to be critical.
    
Oh, sure, I could use this space to tell you about the “Super” Tuesday “drama” where we will either see a Republican Party give a lead either to someone they don’t like or someone nobody likes. Heck, at this point, I am hoping for the almost too juicy to be true “brokered” convention, where some dude will hopefully come out of an actually smoky, actually back room and announce George Soros as the Republican candidate just to see if the world ends.
   
 I could also use this space to complain about how the New Orleans Saints wanted to injure other players, and confuse the situation morally by saying, “Uh, well, as long as football isn’t intentionally violent it’s all good. I mean, having overly-developed, 300-pound men slam into each other is all reasonable fun, but if they actually want to damage, we have a problem.” Of course, there is a distinct difference between actually wanting to do damage and having incidental injuries, but there is also a difference between playing baseball at a local VFW field and playing it on I-40. If the NFL really wanted to reduce injuries, setting a weight limit might be a good step.
    
Of course, there are a million things on which I could rant and rave and you could read and say “whatever” — and believe you me, I will in no way impinge on your right to blow this off—  but instead I am going to offer you a free piece of advice.
    
Next time you encounter a beautiful, sunshiny Tennessee day, skip your classes and take a nice leisurely walk to the library. There, check out a book — not a long book, not an academic book, not a book that your English professor had to go outside of a normal person’s vocabulary to describe (and I say this as a recovering English major) — but a relatively short book, one that you’ve read before. It could be that you warmly remember reading “Dandelion Wine,” or the first “Harry Potter,” or “Voyage of the Dawn Treader” — just a book whose recollection will require you to access a part of your brain where your 12- or 13-year-old avatar is waiting patiently to discuss this book with you as you read it. Of course, don’t read this amid the hustle and bustle of the library — though there certainly is something to be said for that — but outside on the steps between the library and McClung and sprawl out on the grass. Don’t forget to take breaks to watch as people pretend that hammocks are comfortable, or walk while playing with their phones, or play a leisurely game of frisbee.
   
 Of course, reading is surprisingly thirsty and hungry work; be sure to head down to the corner of Andy Holt and Melrose and grab a hot dog and a water. And don’t be afraid to stop reading — the secret of reading a book is knowing when to stop. Go find some corner of campus that you’ve never been to and just look around — try to find quite places to sit, or find a snack food place where you didn’t know to look, or even just discover where an unheard of department lives. Heck, even just look around at some of the beautiful old buildings on campus — Hodges Library is the coolest building on campus.
    
Of course, some of you will probably not think that you have time, or think that this sounds boring or overly ideal or that hot dogs sound gross. My answer is: get over yourself. You will have the rest of your life to pretend that you care about everything buzz worthy, or to worry about how much work you have, or even to focus on things that might be in a very real way more “fun” than the day I described above. I doubt very much that there are too many more things that are more restful than a day where you eschew your responsibilities and further this daring rebellion by being wonderfully frivolous.  As a wizened grad student who stands on the very cusp of having these days disappear altogether, let me simply remind you all of this: sometimes, fun and exciting and interesting and even accomplishment isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. And besides — all that is all the more fun once you’ve given your mind a rest.


— Gregory Bearringer is a graduate student in medieval studies. He can be reached at gbearrin@utk.edu.