It only takes three weeks
Beyond the Bubble
My roommate has an interesting theory. He believes that after just three weeks in a completely new environment, one can adjust. This doesn't mean life becomes easy or effortless, just normal. No matter how difficult the change is, after three weeks, you wake up and it doesn't seem so different anymore.
I listened to his theory, and even bought it partially, but being 1,000 miles from home, and having just graduated from the only place I dreamed of going for 18 years, I didn't think I could adjust to Oklahoma City in just three weeks.
But sure enough, one afternoon driving home from teaching, I took the exit off Interstate 235 and headed towards 700 NE 19th Street. Something clicked inside me. "This feels normal," I thought. "Being in Oklahoma City feels normal." I informed my roommate and he said, "Three-week rule, huh?"
While at first, I was a bit aggravated that he was right again, suddenly I found comfort in his three-week rule. If I became acclimated to Oklahoma City in just three weeks, I was sure I could become acclimated to teaching as well.
Unfortunately, I think I was anticipating that teaching would become easy and effortless, but instead it just became normal. It was normal to get up at 6 a.m. after going to bed at 12:30 a.m. It was normal to frantically run around during my planning hour, not to get ready for the week ahead, but rather to get things ready for my next class.
It was normal to feel incompetent, stressed and overwhelmed nearly all the time. Things didn't become easy, but the frantic pace of my life became normal.
Looking back I had a similar experience my freshman year at Notre Dame. At first I didn't want to be there. I was content with my high school life. I had good friends, I loved my family and I was proud to live in Kentucky.
But after three weeks of classes in DeBartolo Hall, one Rally in the Alley, rushing the football field after the 1998 Michigan victory and several dorm parties, things felt normal. I had adjusted.
Overall, this is a quite a comforting thought for life. Even after I get married, have children, start a career and buy my first house, it's comforting to know that approximately three weeks later, things will seem normal. Just when we believe our lives have changed too much, we adjust.
So whether you're a freshman living on your own for the first time, or a senior hosting the parties rather than attending them, I hope you've adjusted after three weeks of being under the Dome.
But don't take this sense of security as an invitation to sit back and relax, because I have just one more theory. You see, there are some of us who sit there and listen when an OK song comes on the radio. We have a fear that if we change the station, and nothing better is on, it will make us miss that OK song.
And then there are some of us who change the station with just a glimpse of hope that an even better song will be on another station. To us, it's worth the risk.
So my advice is, change the station. Take the risk. Because even if a new, unfamiliar song is on another station, it will take only three weeks to get used to it. And who knows, it may become your favorite song.
Laura Rompf is a 2002 graduate of Notre Dame. She is currently teaching in Oklahoma City through the Alliance for Catholic Education. Her column appears every other Monday. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.
All Viewpoint Stories for Monday, September 23, 2002