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Davis, California

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Column: Goodbye summer

Hello there, fellow journalism junkies, wary readers, wandering eyes … I’m happy to see you here! Welcome to my incommodious two-dimensional domain, where words can seize your minds and whisk them to curious places concocted by the imagination of yours truly.

Do your thoughts tangle in sadness or frustration? Has your world withered beneath the shadows of darkened clouds? Well, I’ll always be here for you. I am Zenita Singh, proud owner of 18 dense years of wisdom, which I would love to share.

Today I’d like to talk about warding away summer laziness and transitioning back to school.

It seems to me that summer spoils even the most rational of minds. When you are abruptly jostled out of the comfort of summer languor, even the tiniest of problems seem behemoth; minuscule failures seem to be the apocalypses of your self-constructed realities.

Unfortunately, failure prevails in every aspect of life. While some failures are flakes of pebble that annoyingly flick in your direction, others are rocks that trip and confound you, and still others are ferocious meteors that crush the spirit and imprison you with their might.

No matter how small or large the failure, it presents you with some form of inconvenience. Maybe last year you received an undesirable GPA. Maybe your summer romance was unhappily curtailed. Maybe you were passed over on that job you spent many sleepless nights thinking about. Maybe you lost money, health, happiness, or even blood, sweat and tears over a tragedy that threatens to ruin life as you imagine it.

I don’t know what problems burden you, but I do know that balancing out every bad is a seed of good. With a little support, it could grow into a stalk of opportunity on which you could climb from the depths of despair into the world of success.

But beware: this world is quite precarious. Even once you succeed, the fear of failure will skulk in the dark corners of your mind, reminding you that the fall will hurt more than ever before.

So how do you eradicate failure and its influences? You simply do not. Failure may be many milk-curdling, hair-raising, smile-erasing things, but if you do not permit it to get the best of you, it will teach you to be a stronger person. In fact, it’s unlikely you’ll succeed without journeying the circuitous path of trial and error and receiving many red stamps of “failure” on your worn head. It takes hard work and sweat to wipe them off!

Through years of careful observation, I have found that the slap of reality is most effective when administered to those who have recently fatigued themselves and curled up in the comfort of self-pity. So let your tears flow like the Niagara Falls, punch a hole through that beloved HD television, become the tortured artist you have always wanted to be, or crumple up those tissues and throw them down in disgust.

Feel no shame. Emotional catharsis is fine, so long as you don’t make self-pity your permanent refuge.

In the wastelands of failure, self-pity is but a humble shack. We stumble upon it in our fitful wanderings, and it tames our despair into a manageable meekness. It is a trap. While it’s fine to settle in for a day or two, the problem arises when you refuse to leave – when you remain sequestered in this ugly, rotting house, seeing the world through tainted windows, refusing to step out the door and find something new and worthwhile.

Self-pity is the resort (not a fancy one) of those who are afraid of change … so once your hour of emotional turmoil is up, be a futilitarian no longer. Your world may have burned to shreds, but that world was obsolete, anyway. You can create a newer and better one. Stick your middle finger up to failure if you must. Even the tiniest act of defiance – a ghost of a smile or a morsel of determination – is enough to make yourself a celebrity in the wasteland where people do nothing but hide and weep.

Please be a fighter. Do not concede defeat to the dark forces that threaten to penetrate your mind and lead you astray.

Just recite the following: My problems, be they giant, monstrous, hairy or smelly, are solvable. The responsibility to solve these problems is my own. What happened cannot be changed, so I will dedicate my time and effort into creating a better future rather than focusing on the past.

I think adopting this mindset will make your transition back to school a much smoother one, and will help you deal with stressful situations in the future. Good luck!

ZENITA SINGH would love to hear what pesky problems plague your minds at zensingh@ucdavis.edu.


  1. Dude, you’re so right. Someone once said ‘I think, therefore… I am sad.’ You gotta stop thinking too much and move your tools, I suppose. Do stuff, not wait for things to happen. 🙂


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