WHAT I KNOW NOW: Absurdity vs. reality


BP Graphic by Ezra Helfand, BP Photo by Sam Elyaszadeh

Senior Anya Mendelson ponders the college admissions process.

By Anya Mendelson, Staff Columnist

I recently learned that absurdity can be met with absurdity. Absurdity is, by its nature, irrational and therefore often meets with an irrational reaction.  It is not a sentiment or response, no matter how perfectly it may sum up your feelings. However, for the purposes of understanding this article, you must forget about the grammatical usage of “absurdity,” and allow the word to take on different forms: actions, emotions and responses. 

Absurd situations can understandably issue absurd reactions. It’s similar to the third law of motion: every action has an equal opposite reaction. If I jump on the ground, the force of my legs will be met with an equal and opposite force, propelling me into the air. It’s the same way that I will crash my car and possibly break out into hysterics, or even convince myself that I should not drive again. My action was met by an emotion equal and opposite, absurdity met with absurdity. 

While the absurdism theory remains sensible, another truth must be met: whether or not a moment is absurd is relative. Now there are two possible ways to react to the car crash example. The first is our absurd reaction to the absurd situation. The second would be to recognize the incident as a learning experience. 

The former choice, although it may be warranted, might also be the easy way out. It requires no work, no recognition, it is simply extracting the tribulations from your life. The latter choice, depending on the extremities of the situation, we would all probably choose. Deciding to forgo your driving abilities adds difficulty to your life, and you would be better off taking the time to learn from your mistake and redevelop your confidence behind the wheel. 

While everything may be going absurdly wrong, it is your job to stay sane.

I’ve been thinking a lot about relative absurdism, specifically in regards to the college season. As most seniors may tell you, the college process is not an easy one. While you may learn a lot about yourself from the endless supply of supplemental questions, you continue to wonder if any of this hard work and thought will pay off.

 In March, college admissions and rejections had begun flooding my and my classmate’s emails. And, while I can’t speak for everyone, it’s safe to say that by the end of March lots of us were feeling defeated. We were feeling like the college board had cheated us, we were feeling like we had done all this hard work for nothing, we were and are feeling like the college process, in its entirety, is absurd. 

And now, you may be able to guess the problem that each and every one of us could have faced – absurdity met with absurdity. It would have been abundantly easy, in the last few weeks, to give up. After putting our absolute best feet forward, and then being told that our efforts were not good enough and could not get us into our dream schools, any absurd reaction may have been warranted. 

However, these reactions did not come, and if they did they were fleeting – because, we realized,  our reactions could only harm or help ourselves. The world is not necessarily looking out for you, and so the world can throw the worst at you. But while everything may be going absurdly wrong, it is your job to stay sane. You can’t throw a tantrum at every rejection, or become paralyzed at any inconvenience because then you will see no progression in your life. Persistence is all in your hands, and though it may seem near impossible at times, it is an imperative key to success. 

Absurdism can understandably be met with absurdism, but that does not mean it should be.