I went to the Ithaca Farmers Market for the first time this week. I’m a junior. The farmers market is 1.3 miles from our campus — I know because I just looked it up ‚ and in three years I never had “the time” to go. Spoiler alert: I loved the market. My friends and I dressed up in cute farmers market clothes, ordered iced coffees and banana bread, and sat out on the dock watching Ithaca College’s rowing team do drills. It felt good to rest, soak up the sun and to be surrounded by friends.
My on-campus mom and best friend, Liel Sterling, just moved back to campus and since coming back has forced me to do a lot of things that I don’t normally do. If you know me at all, you know that I’m a workaholic. I live on a schedule. I wake up at 5:00 a.m., I’m in too many clubs and I take too many credits. I like living a fast-paced life, which makes it a relief to have people who slow me down.
Since being on campus, Liel has asked me daily about “what I’ve done for myself.” And if I haven’t done something for myself that day, she’s in her car at Baker Flagpole to get me. The truth is, most days I don’t do anything for myself. I do school work hoping that a graduate school will pick me, participate in service work and extracurriculars to support the people around me and am the go-to friend for everyone else. I’m a big sister to my brother, the perfect daughter to my parents and at the end of all that I am exhausted more often than not.
Even if I’m just sitting on the floor in Liel’s apartment, it feels good to have someone to crack jokes with and to make me matcha lattes. Sometimes it’s worth staying up a little later or waking up at 4:00 am to take a spontaneous late-night walk through Collegetown, tan on the slope, listen to music in the Arts Quad, get food at Pronto or visit the farmers market. This year has been a work year. With life online and limited opportunities to see people in person, I have added more to my plate than I’ve taken off.
As Liel and my other senior friends start to pick out their graduation dresses (thanks to their in-person graduation announcement!), choosing grad schools, signing job contracts and creating their last Ithaca memories, I’m reminded that my time here is temporary and that I spend way too much time in libraries, on Zoom calls and writing essays.
So, where does that put me? The truth is that it puts me right back where I started. I am the girl who sits in the library, wakes up at five in the morning to prepare for meetings and who skips out on lunches to prepare for a thesis that isn’t due for over a year. Some people are just like that. I’m like that. But, I encourage every person who never takes time for themselves to go to the Ithaca Farmers Market. I also highly recommend getting yourself a Liel Sterling.
Anuli Ononye is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Womansplaining runs every other Wednesday this semester.