Métro, boulot, dodo—commute, work, sleep—is a French expression about being trapped in a mundane work routine. Against the liver’s will, life becomes centered around jobs and everyday tasks. No English expression manages to quite grasp its prosaic implication, its banality.
In Paris, I experienced métro, boulot, dodo: the repetitive ride to school, the incessant schoolwork, the restorative sleep. I lived passively within the bounds of my high school habits, comfortable in my routines. I was always curious about how these three words would translate to my college life. I expected Yale to be a whirlwind, and I was both eager and apprehensive to be thrown into that cycle.
First semester, once I got past the frenetic Google Map searches (LC? LOM?? OML???), awkward 30-minute time slots between classes, and the thrill of the first parties, I eased into my schedule. I knew where to go and when, but also who I would get meals with, what office hours I preferred attending, and even what time of the day I had to satiate my desire for caffeine. September’s “want to get breakfast this week in a residential college we’ve never been to?” transformed into January’s “9:30 tomorrow?” sent at 12:30am the day of.
Everyday habits and insignificant things were the only way I could overcome the “Yale effect.” This is an all-encompassing school; it’s your work, your social life, your hobbies, your identity. My métro-boulot-dodo was something I had control over. For some people, the routine they establish goes: Yuttle, pset, all-nighter. For others, it’s walk to class, skim-read, nap, or even Stay-in-bed, procrastinate, slumber. But with the creation of these routines comes the risk of monotony. Yale’s turmoil is what makes it stimulating. By trying to relegate the school to the background, and making my routine come first, the gift of this university surprisingly and inevitably became a given.
That’s why I cherish the occasional ray of sunlight on Cross Campus, the reverent look up towards Harkness, the walk under the pin oaks on Hillhouse to remind myself: I’m here.