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Leap year wastes no time
Posted Feb. 29, 2008

Ah, Feb. 29, such a rare occasion that we are blessed with your presence. After years of accumulating the few extra hours, 365 days become 366.

But does this day really make a difference? Does it really feel like there’s an extra day in the year, an extra day of work, school, socializing, fun? No.

Well at least not for me. For Feb. 29, whenever it comes around, is just another day. The so called extra day in February does not satisfy my need of having more time to get things done.

So why the need for the extra day every year that is divisible by four, unless the year is divisible by 100, but can be if divisible by 400 (I know that’s confusing, bear with me for a second)?

Well apparently the Gregorian calendar, which is recognized pretty much all over the world, doesn’t account for a couple of hours each year – about six hours if you round up.

In order to balance that miscalculation so that our years are in balance with the Earth’s orbit around the sun, a leap year is needed.

Otherwise the world as we know it would cease to exist because the missing 0.2422 of a day each year that is not recognized will cause time to collapse on itself and we will be plunged into an endless abyss. OK, not really, it’s just to keep track of the Earth’s orbit, so I guess that’s just as good a reason.

But because the Gregorian calendar wants to keep the equinox close to the March 21 date, three rules are set to decide when there will be a leap year: The year must be divisible by four. If the year is divisible by 100, it is not a leap year. If the year is divisible by 400, however, it is a leap year.

So this extra day every couple of years keeps everything in line but does nothing for me. In a column I wrote last semester I spoke on my lack of time to do everything that I had on my schedule and how I was going to devise a strict routine to alleviate my stress. Well, it lasted for two weeks.

Like everyone else, I am overbooked with work and other activities.

The”extra” day does nothing more than add another day of work to do.

Clarification note: I tend to become a bit morbid when stressed.

I remember back in my younger years at school, the leap year was made out to be a big deal. The extra day was filled with fun activities and no homework. Thank you, Ms. Lightner. But times were simpler back then.

Now the day doesn’t feel as special. It’s merely a place holder for the few hours missed in years past.

No extra time to finish that project or to work on that side project that I’ve been hoping to get started on. No extra time to go out with friends or to relax after a job well done at my internship or after tutoring. Time marches on and I continue to mimic the worker ant, always having something to do with limited time to myself.

Serious moment: It’s important to realize that time is precious and should not be wasted moping around and complaining that there isn’t enough time to accomplish goals. Time should be spent wisely and no one knows that more than me. I guess it took a leap year to put that into perspective.

The extra day does provide one interesting result. The people that are born on Feb. 29 are technically the youngest old people on Earth.

For example, Henri Richard, of Montreal and past 11-time recipient of the Stanley Cup is technically turning 18 today the Canadian Press reports. In real years, he is 72 years old. So happy birthday to Richard and every other leap year baby.

Andres Rivera, a senior journalism major, is editorial director of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at arivera3@ulv.edu.