Hello. My name is Student, and I seem to be stuck in University Wonderland. It’s a strange and scary place, really. There are these little bits–I’ve heard some call them “Information”–that do bizarre things. They tell me to consume them and, when I do, some seem to grow my brain so much that it feels it will burst from my head and others seem to shrink my brain so much that it seems possible that it has ceased to even exist. There is a cat named “Exam” who appears suddenly with a much-too-big smile that seems, at once, both smug and condescending. There is also a caterpillar who smokes hookah and calls himself “Term Paper”. When I attempt to pass him, he asks perplexing questions and keeps blowing smoky disorienting rings in my face. For a long time, I’ve had to play croquet with a rather rude queen named “Procrastination” who constantly threatens to do away with my head!
As you can see, it has been exhausting and confusing trying to find my way through this place. I explained it all to my therapist, a woman who always seems to understand and knows how to put it all into words. Her name is Taylor Swift, and she recently wrote a song incorporating parts of my journey that has truly helped me deal with it all. Today, I want to use her song, Wonderland, to help explain my troubles:
“…nothing’s as it seems and spinning out of control” – I thought I was in a place of endless possibility and that I could handle it all, but I didn’t know about these twists and turns along the way.
“Haven’t you heard what becomes of curious minds?/Didn’t it all seem new and exciting” – I am responsible for being here, because it was my own curious mind that led me to University Wonderland. Being able to learn new things and the idea of starting a whole new phase of life made the idea of being here “new and exciting” and quite irresistible.
“It’s all fun and games ‘til somebody loses their mind” – Queen Procrastination only threatens to sever my head and mind, but I have seen many who lost the croquet game actually lose their minds to her.
“I reached for you but you were gone” – “You” here is my sanity, naturally.
“I knew I had to go back home” – It seems to me that the only way I can ever recover from the roller coaster that is Wonderland is going home and getting away from it all for a while.
“And in the end, in Wonderland/We both went mad” – I have lost my mind so many times here that I have begun to wonder if I ever had it in the first place. Perhaps this is madness.
And of course, The Chorus:
“We found Wonderland, you and I got lost in it/And we pretended it could last forever” – Getting lost in a place so wondrous and new is so very easy to do! But the excitement and giddiness of something new soon wore off as I came to meet the strange characters I mentioned before.
“And life was never worse but never better” – Wonderland has been frightening, bewildering, and often quite peculiar, but I thrive on curiosity and at no other time of my life have I been able to connect so much of this new knowledge and have so many moments each week where my mind is absolutely blown. Despite everything, University Wonderland is, indeed, quite wonderful.