A Ne(wish) Beginning

Imagine a genie has come to visit. Forget, for now, that jinn do not grant wishes, nor do they have the comedic repertoire of Robin Williams. The genie asks you what your three wishes are. Treat it as a thought experiment. What do you answer?

My three wishes used to vary, but for the past year, they have remained the same, and in this order:

Wish #1: Where applicable, to be able to speak, read, and write every language of the world as fluently as I speak, read, and write English.

Wish #2: To have the powers of Darwin in the X-Men comics; namely, to adapt to survive to any situation.

Wish #3: To have a Time Hollow—a space where time does not pass, where I do not age or tire, where I can go and spend the equivalent of 50 years working on a project, and to have only a split second pass in the real world

These wishes, I thought, were perfect for me. I would be able to travel anywhere and talk to anyone I wanted. My Darwin powers would protect me from diseases or natural disasters I might encounter along the way. And the Time Hollow would allow me the chance to get all my work done so that I might do all of these things with a peaceful heart and free conscience.

However, the concept of the genie granting you three wishes is a con in itself, as explained to me by a friend.

“Think about it. Your first wish has to be that none of your wishes get willfully misinterpreted by the genie. Your last wish has to be that the genie goes back into the bottle, or else the genie’ll wreak havoc. So you truly only have one wish.”

It took me a long time to think of one wish I would rather have over the others. That’s the problem with me, I suppose. I want, as cliche as it sounds, to do everything. To that end, I have spent most of my college career taking on too much, falling flat on my face, getting up, and repeating all of the actions that led me to fall flat on my face in the first place.

So my only wish, this year, is to break that cycle.

I don’t want the genie to misinterpret that wish. I don’t want my final year of college to be easy; otherwise I wouldn’t feel like I had earned my diploma. I enjoy my internships and part-time job far too much to give them up. Besides, a girl needs to be able to buy lunch.

I want, instead, to work smarter instead of harder. I don’t want to wear my so-called busyness as a status symbol, as it’s a symbol of my own procrastination more than anything else. I want to learn how to say to myself, “You have toiled and labored, and now you are worthy of rest.” More than anything, I want to believe it.

And when I wish for the genie to go back in the bottle, I do so not because I am scared of what the genie might do, but because I want the person who finds the bottle after me to have the same opportunity I did.


–Micaela Arena

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  1. Michaela,

    Your wish to break the cycle of procrastination and bad study habits to be productive, is a wish that many undergraduates have–I know I did! Perhaps you and your fellow Leader, Sheryl could be accountability partners and work on having a great academic year. This way, your wish will come true, not because of jinn/genie, but because you put in the work to make it a reality. Welcome, Michaela.

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