By SHUJA MALIK
BOLOGNA — While being a SAIS student has its charms (the eternal quest for truth and the undying zeal to make the world a better place), sometimes it can be stressful. The tremendous amount of reading, moreover the need to keep up with it on a weekly basis, the internship/job hunt, the gloom of being poor while in school; all compound to heavy toll. Do not get me wrong, this is not complaining! All this is necessary and I very much believe in the rigorous training we receive. But it can get a bit much nonetheless and we all have our coping mechanisms.
And that is what I wanted to talk about. Coping mechanisms. Some of us run, some of us stress eat. Others take refuge on a yoga mat or at the gym. I know of a few who have taken a more than usual liking to the fantastic wines Italy has to offer. But there was one coping mechanism (read procrastination tool) that most of us loved and cherished. It helped us make sense of the world around us. It made us laugh and cry, it made us think and cringe all at the same time. It was Jon Stewart from the Daily Show. And they took that away from us this week.
It was the middle of the night here in Italy when the news broke. My initial reaction was “wait, why!” But as the news settled in, there was a mixed sense of confusion and betrayal. As one of my friends posted on his facebook “*** Jon! I thought we were going to grow old together.” Then we watched the announcement. In his typical fashion, he made it sound like the right thing to do. It was justified; but that did not take the pain away. I roam around the halls now, aimlessly, floating from class to class. The reading I used to enjoy so much, for one day I was going to quote these words in my book which was to be promoted by Stewart, seems pointless. The Bolognese gelato does not taste the same. Stewart, I know we will learn to live without your nightly newscast. But we won’t like it!