The spontaneity that is college

The pros and cons

Kushagra Gupta

Spontaneous. That’s the one word I could use to describe the onset of pain I found myself on that one Wednesday morning. It was 8:30 a.m., and I had an hour before my first class but instead of getting ready, I went to my laptop. I clicked my way through the University Health Services appointment pages and found a same-day appointment for 10:30 a.m. For the next hour and a half, I remained curled up in my bed, using apps on my iPhone to distract myself from the pain. When I finally got to health services, the kind doctor there ended up informing me that I needed to see a surgeon on the same day. Apparently, “pain in the neck” isn’t just a way to describe studying for finals.

Obviously, this wasn’t how I was expecting my morning to go at all. My expectations had been along the lines of going to Leutner commons to eat, then dragging my sorry butt to math and chemistry. However, college doesn’t seem to work like this at times. Case Western Reserve seems to be the place where things happen on the spot, a place where flammable fuel is tempted by electrical sparks. But this doesn’t mean that everything unexpected has to be negative. Spontaneity can actually be one of the greatest aspects of college life.

On a different Wednesday, a friend, Matt, informed me that “We are going watch a movie at Tower City.”  Mind you, it was 6 p.m. on a Wednesday night, I had a test the next day and needed to study. But I always crave action, so I tend to take any opportunity to jump on an adventure. That mindset tends be the one my friends have, too. We only needed about five minutes of yelling directed at other friends, Jack and Sam, to get them to come with us. Less than half an hour after our brilliant plan was constructed, I found myself running along Euclid Avenue to the East 120th train station. It’s safe to say that this was one of the craziest weeknights with my college friends; we ended up playing a version of poker we had made up on the train ride, stuffing down a platter full of Asian food and making it to “Thor 2” just in time. Avoiding work for an escapade was completely worth it.

Spontaneity has been the start of doing something regularly for me as well. Whenever my friends and I do something crazy together, we bond through that experience. For example, at the beginning of the semester, a group of friends from my floor went to a three features night, involving Black Wedding, Improv and watching “Star Trek” at Strosacker. Afterward, we started going to the movies put on by CWRU Film Society every Friday and Saturday and later joined the organization. I’ve also made great friends through impromptu activities. I’m from Chicago, and something we Windy City dwellers take pride in is our deep-dish style pizza, especially by a chain called Giordano’s. I happened to meet another person from Chicago, Abby, and, upon reminiscing about pizza, we managed to find out that Giordano’s is actually willing to prepare a pizza, place in a box of dry ice, and ship it. So, on the spot, we grabbed a couple friends who were interested, pulled out a phone and a credit card, and ordered. I ended up making close friends from that experience and strengthening bonds with already existing ones.

Okay. So is it worth it to plan an evening out with friends anymore? Sure it is. I would say that spontaneous plans result in a better college experience. Sure, they can end up being negative incidents. Take my hospital visit. How they will end up is never clear beforehand. But it’s the risk that’s enticing for students and the rewards of creating something new, the bonds of friendship and the rush of adrenaline that are too great to pass up.  College seems to be a place that’s simply set up to be spontaneous; the closeness of residence hall life and the dynamics of group decision-making are a part of it.

It’s just a matter of creating a spark.

Kushagra Gupta is a first-year student majoring in cognitive science. When he’s not busy being impressed by life, he enjoys amusing himself and being amused by those around him.