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April 23, 2014

After School Snack: How to be an existentialist

In college, it’s very important to express your sadness, frustration, and complete apathy for the world around you in a cool, intellectual, and, most importantly, inscrutable way. Think of your angsty phase in the sixth grade, but much sexier. As somebody who read The Stranger in high school, I’m kind of an expert when it comes to existentialism. My middle name might as well be Brooding. So, you might want to take notes on this. I’d like to share with you some of my “viewpoints” of how to be cool, attractive, and unattainable, while obviously demonstrating those same characteristics simultaneously:

1. Set an alarm for your daily existential crisis. Try to choose a time when you can have some privacy to sob about your impending death and how your life, in reality, is utterly meaningless, and sure, I can create my own meaning but did I really have to spend $60,000 a year to do that and oh God, I need a moment. I’ll stop that rant there to give you some creative license when your time comes. My crisis, by the way, is from 3 to 4 a.m., which I have discovered is much better than breaking down from 3 to 4 p.m., mostly because I have a class.

2. Be like Kierkegaard, who believed in a sincere and authentic lifestyle. That’s why I always sleep 14 hours a day, watch Netflix instead of doing work, and, when a professor asks me a question I don’t know the answer to, I just leave. Now that’s what I call an authentic life and staying true to my own self! You wish you could be me, Heidegger.

3. While waiting for Godot a friend, professor, or even your food from Chipotle, make sure you contemplate the absurdity that is your life. Be sure to question death, the meaning of human existence, and if there is a place for God in your life.

4. The mark of a true existentialist is realizing you don’t fit in with society and the monotony that is your daily life. Stop being such a Sisyphean baby! Try changing up your lifestyle. Ever thought of becoming a giant beetle for a day? That’ll be sure to mix things up and alienate you from your loved ones.

5. Be sure to listen to Kansas’s famous song “Dust in the Wind” around 20 times a day. Trust me, it really puts your life in perspective. And, in the end, aren’t we all just dust in the wind? Other acceptable bands to listen to include The Cure, Radiohead, and a 20-minute recording of a middle-aged man sobbing (if anyone needs the download link for the last one, hit me up).

Well, that’s all I have for you. I would say to listen to all of my advice, but since our Dear Leader, Sartre, believes that all your plebeian attempts to “be” an existentialist are futile because any attempt to categorize yourself is bad faith, looks like you’re on your own. Put that in your demitasse and drink it, losers!

Sarah Zimmerman is the blogger behind After School Snack. She is a first-year in the College.

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