Over the course of the past week, I’ve been noticing the prominence of sound in my life. The constant keyboard clicking, coffee machine squealing, boots scuffling, you name it-it sure sounds like finals to me. But the sound that interests me most was the sound of silence I was noticing amidst the overwhelming din of stress. Yes, this title can be attributed to the nice little debut of Jewish Fella A Cappella in our joint semester show, but this is actually a sound I’ve been hearing.
Let me explain.
As a humanities major (I haven’t declared yet-but let’s just say Near Eastern and Judaic Studies), I haven’t really been working with other people for the past week…except for History…but that’s a recent development. So basically I’ve been spending my time outlining, copying notes and watching page numbers fly by-all alone. So as not to popularize my quiet study/paper-writing havens, I’ll just say that in those places, you can choose to notice the crinkling of an energy bar wrapper or rattling of ice cubes in an iced coffee cup (confession: those sounds were likely from my cubicle. Sorry, guys.), or you can recognize the grand tranquility and bliss of the silence that exists in those spaces.
This silence is conducive to not only trudging through a sticky mess of deadlines, but also to a stream of consciousness that cannot exist in the presence of others or distracting sounds. I found myself being more introspective than usual, second guessing the things I was doing and saying, and considering my self-perception and my perception of others. I was so bogged down by these thoughts at one point that I moved to work in my usual spot in the Green Room (Ecogrounds). If you’re a Brandesian, you know that means leaving the unsaid vow of silence that prevails on lower floors of the library.
Well that didn’t last too long. Maybe I liked that stream of consciousness. Back to the silence.
If you know me well enough, you know I don’t actually like silence. I really like talking. A lot. Despite the previously mentioned bliss and tranquility, I was kind of lonely. And I probably was quite happy to see you last week and get out all of the words that I had to hold inside while in seclusion.
Thursday afternoon I finished my last final. Halleluyah. So I thought I was going to break free of the chains of silence, but that wasn’t really the case. Staying until the second to last day of finals is like being one of the last kids to be picked up on the last day of camp (tear-tear). But it wasn’t too bad. Let’s be real here-I’m back to blogging… and music arranging and drawing-sometimes I forget how artsy I can be. Thanks to the hiatus in finals this week, I’ve regained a sense of self. Thanks again.
But back to the sounds. Aside from my seemingly chipper attitude towards the gloominess of finals, there has also been a silence that can be read off of the faces of so many Brandeis students. Whether it be the silence of the grief following the mourning of a Brandesian who passed away this week while on a semester of leave, or the grief surrounding the innocent children who were murdered in cold blood in Newtown, Connecticut. This too leaves an eerie silence.
So perhaps not all silence is good silence. Perhaps the noise in our lives is what propels us to create greatness, to succeed and find the support we need. Maybe its alright to sit in a loud place and see where your thoughts go. Rock on, rambunctious, cartwheel-doing coffeemaker at Ecogrounds Cafe. Maybe if I were that flexible and uninhibited I would attempt to do such things. But my artsiness excludes grace. I’ve figured that out by now.
Most importantly, it’s best that we realize the sounds within our silence-the sound of silence. That way, we understand the benefits and disadvantages of each, and bring the best sounds into our lives-at least when its under our control.
So farewell for now. Hope this little post was able to relieve some of your post finals-stress with a giggle or too. Enjoy your vacations and look out for my next post!!!
Hannah Zahava Kober