Being under-accomplished and feeling happy

By Henry Soong

I’m not coming back to campus with a crisp tan. In fact, the final days of my spring break were spent hunkered down at home enduring a Chicago-style springtime snowstorm. No, I didn’t build a snow fort after the fact either.

Instead, I am pleased to report that after a nice job shadow experience with corporate America, I now have a vague understanding of what investment bankers do. Wish me luck in finding a job that won’t go the way of Bear Stearns.

MTV is pretty disappointed with the way my Spring Break 2008 fell through. Do they really expect teen America to watch an entire episode of me dozing on the Metra en route to Chicago? I haven’t given them much to work with. Maybe if instead of wearing a suit and tie, I had shown a little more skin and shown up in nothing but swim trunks and flip-flops. Or maybe if instead of sitting in on the 10 a.m. analysts’ meeting, I’d done a 10 a.m. power hour with a managing director.

Ah, well. The slim pickings at MTV continue until Tila Tequila gets her second, poorly scripted “Shot at Love.”

I’m guessing that my spring break, like many of yours, was spent simply chillaxin’. I planned a bit more sensibly than the MTV proto-types, wanting to have a relaxed yet worthwhile spring break. I even made a to-do list of the great stuff I was going to do over the week. Let’s share lists and see how we each did:

1 . Work out

I like hitting a tennis ball around because it doesn’t really feel like a monotonous workout routine. I played tennis through high school and wasn’t half-bad by the end of it, but I haven’t picked up a racket since graduation. The plan had been to hit around and play a few sets with some of my chums.

I ended up playing “Tennis” on “Wii Sports” in my basement until I turned pro.

2. Read

The last book I read of my own free will was “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” – even enduring the incredibly dull middle section where Harry, Ron and Hermione live out of a tent hunting for Horcruxes.

Feeling guilty for not having done any free reading since last summer, I went to the library and checked out three books with full intention of absorbing their contents of by the end of the week.

Of course, this didn’t happen.

Two of them are still sitting exactly where I propped them on my bookshelf.

The other, Salman Rushdie’s “East, West,” made good progress into and out of my black messenger bag as I carried it to and from Chicago each day.

3. Catch up on homework

I loaded my backpack with textbooks before leaving for home, promising myself that I would catch up on some of my work. I stopped functioning academically three weeks before spring break began, so I knew I’d be in a bind if I didn’t get on top of things over the course of the week.

I did sit down at the kitchen table one night and peruse my upcoming due dates and test schedules.

But instead of reading over my lecture notes, I just badgered my high school sister as she tried to practice for the ACT.

I lugged the same blasted books back yesterday with no progress whatsoever. I’m in a big bind.

4. Party hardy!

Non-Illini friends and I planned a reunion get-together. There would have been balloons and cupcakes, but as group events go, nobody took initiative to work out the details and so nothing ever came of the reunion – not even the cupcakes were ordered.

We ended up talking loudly through all of “Michael Clayton” on DVD and then wondered what exactly U-North had done that was so awful.

After figuring it out, I have to say: Tilda Swinton, you are eeeevil.

5. Make summer plans

I had also planned to finalize plans to study abroad in England this summer. I was going to book tickets, choose courses, find hostels to stay in while traveling.

I got as far as finding out where London Heathrow Airport is relative to Big Ben on Google Maps.

So I’m all set to go.

We’re all back on campus now, but I’m not regretting my spring break under-accomplishment.

So far as I’m concerned, big plans followed by unproductive idleness are what break is all about.

I’m just happy to be such a pro at “Wii Tennis.”

Henry is a freshman in Business. He wants to know what you didn’t do over break.