Have you ever played Katamari Damacy? It’s a bright and colourful video game, wherein the King of All Cosmos, a giant and mostly-benevolent ruler living in space, accidentally knocks down all the stars in the sky. The people of Earth are, understandably, upset. You play his puny son, the Prince, and are given a sticky ball known as a “katamari”; your task is to push the katamari along on Earth (mostly Japan), while a timer counts down, and pick up anything in your path until you’ve achieved a clump of objects sized suitably for a star. The katamari is then launched into the sky, and a new star, made up of everything from paperclips to elephants, is born. You win once you’ve replaced all of the stars, constellations, and moon. Earth is slightly more desolate, but hey, at least the sky’s back.
Life, as my friend Julie once said, is like playing with a katamari. You just keep rolling through it, picking stuff up. Sometimes it’s stuff you don’t even need, and total junk, but it sticks to you anyway.
Stuff’s been sticking to me lately. I’ve picked up some extra friends along the way, rolling along aimlessly with my general goal—to graduate—in mind, and I’ve gotten some other cool objects and useful things. But a lot of what’s there is starting to feel like it’s dragging me down. The friends I’ve collected are starting to bicker and break away, for one thing. Suddenly, there’s conflict, and I can’t seem to stop long enough to fix it.
Another thing I seem to have picked up is the realization that, while it’s great to be a senior and reaching the end of my time at RPI, I really have no idea what I’m going to be doing at the end of this year. I love what I’ve studied so far, and I think it’s interesting, but I can’t seem to imagine myself in a corporate world. Besides, it’s hard to realize that soon, I’m going to be entirely done with taking classes here, pulling late nights in the Rensselaer Union, and running around campus doing odd jobs. I’m leaning more towards graduate school, honestly; I’m not entirely sure if I want to keep doing what I’ve been doing or head in a different direction, though.
Or I could just never leave RPI; so many of my friends are doing the co-terminal program at RPI that it’s starting to seem awfully appealing. On the other hand, the recruiter I talked to before the career fair who was helping me with my résumé told me that there’s nothing worse than doing grad school at the same school you completed your undergraduate degree. It shows you can’t face a challenge, he told me. Am I ready for the challenge? I don’t know. I think so, but I’m not sure.
In Katamari Damacy, if you lose control of the katamari, you crash. This is a bad thing. Nobody wants to run into a wall, especially not when they’re on a deadline. But in this case, there are so many things to think about each and every day, and there are so many things to take care of every hour, I keep getting distracted and hitting the walls. I’m having trouble making this code run, and I’m not sure my homework will be done on time; but my boyfriend is on a business trip and he misses me and is feeling down, so I need to talk to him before he goes to sleep to cheer him up; oh, and there’s so many dishes piling up in the sink, but I guess I do need to cook dinner before I forget to eat again. I found out this semester that inability to eat can be a sign of stress.
But then someone tells me, no, Sarah, you’re not doing enough. We’re all really busy. You need to do more, you need to be around more. You aren’t doing enough. Don’t mess up again. And then someone else comes up to me, to tell me, “Did you know they’re talking about you behind your back? They said, ‘She’s such a bad EIC,’ and your friend agreed, right before they came out with smiling faces.” Or else, from a helpful gossip, “You know that girl you were friends with? Well, I saw her; she was playing Never Have I Ever at that party and said, ‘Never have I ever been friends with Sarah Hulse!’ and then more people drank than not. Funny, right?”
On the plus side, if you do crash your katamari, some of the unnecessary things that are stuck to you might fall off, and you can keep on rolling. So maybe crashing isn’t all bad. I guess the challenge is to knock off what’s unnecessary so you can keep on going. Don’t despair. Catch your breath, let the things that hurt slide off. Do less, but do better.
In the end, life can be bright and colourful and a little crazy, like Katamari Damacy; maybe a video game isn’t the best analogy I could have used. Even my friend Julie has probably made better analogies in her time. But life being like katamari was one of the funnier ones, I thought.