I’m a bit ashamed (especially as a lover of reading) to say that I actually did not add Don Quixote to my list of companions until I came to Spain. In my literature class, we have begun discussing the famous story of Don Quixote and the windmills. A brief summary: Don Quixote is off on an adventure with his loyal sidekick Sancho, when he stumbles upon several windmills. To him, they appear to be giants and he decides to attack, riding forward on his horse at full-speed. He proceeds to catch his lance in the blades, falls backwards with his horse, and rolls down the hill until he comes to a painful stop at the bottom.
This isn’t meant to be a brilliant, gold star-worthy, literary summary of Don Quixote, his triumphs, failures, strengths, or weaknesses. However, something struck me about this character and I’d like to offer us a suggestion as inhabitants of the same college world: I think it would do us some good to try to be like Don Quixote. Now, I probably lost a few of you here, especially if you’ve read the stories. He is a bit of a lunatic. He teeter-totters between sanity and madness, thinks windmills are giants, and tries to live vicariously through storybooks. So why am I suggesting that imitating him can bring you anything more than some painful bumps and bruises?
What I’m trying to get at is that it’s important to do things in life that don’t always make sense. In college, I think that looks a little different for everyone. Maybe you need to actually go to bed at midnight, no matter what. Maybe you need to stay up to 3am eating McDonald’s cheeseburgers. Maybe you need to start running, start working, stop obsessing, start loving. Whatever it is, make it something that doesn’t make sense and makes perfect sense at the same time. (Am I getting too cliché for you?) Start trying in class or stop running yourself into the ground over one grade. It’s so easy to get caught up in the routine and I know college is busy, stressful, and jam-packed with responsibility. However, in all of that, try to let Don Quixote teach you a little bit of a lesson. After the windmill incident, he continued on to have more adventures. So I challenge you: step out and attack some windmills. You won’t regret it, even if it results in a few bruises.
- Kristen Blok