Category Archives: College

The Exciting Life of the Post-Graduate (or how I killed my childhood)

Well, I did it. I graduated from college. Finally. Onwards and upwards into the world of the post-graduate. The job holder. The apartment renting, career-driven city girl. This, this is what I have been working towards for four years. This is what got me through the all-nighters, the crazed study sessions and frenzied paper-writing parties. The promise that, after it was all over, a world of possibilities waited. Along with copious amounts of hard work, disappointments, adjustments and student loans, of course, but still (optimism is key).

So far, this strange new world has consisted of the “Once Upon a Time” season finale, educating my dad in what I can and can’t eat as a pescetarian, temp agencies, and unpacking. Lots and lots of unpacking.

One might think that since I’m only moving home for a little over three months, the unpacking would be simple. Child’s play, even. One might even be so naive to assume that it would be done within the first few hours of arriving at home. One, in that case, would be horribly, disastrously wrong. Day three of being home is half over, and still, there are piles of boxes, duffle bags and suitcases that haven’t even been touched. Overwhelmed doesn’t even begin to explain it.

Of course, I claim full responsibility for this. It was my idea to simultaneously unpack and sort through everything my parents had stored for me while I was at college. This was to make packing for the city easier. All it’s done so far is cause me to be trapped for three hours, surrounded by knick-knacks, jewelry I haven’t worn since I was 7, and clothing I forgot I had.

As I sat on the floor of my hallway last night, fighting my dogs for access to the small piles of random items I had tried to organize, something started to come over me- I felt it creep up from the very tips of my toes, claiming more and more of my attention the longer I stared at the piles- shit. I was getting sentimental.

I couldn’t help it. Here was my childhood, just lying on the floor in front of me. Things I would never wear or use again, but that had played a starring role in my elementary and middle school days. And here I was, unceremoniously throwing it out. What an asshole.

I gritted my teeth and continued the destruction of my childhood, throwing out jelly bracelets, notes from the 6th grade, and butterfly clips, trying not to let myself connect those things to any sort of memories. And then, something hit me. A new feeling. One that kicked sentimentality in the face. Freedom. This was freeing. I was making room for new things, new adventures. New memories. I started smiling as I chucked a pile of mismatched earrings into a nearby garbage bag. Really, this was just step one in my journey to New York. Screw sentimentality. I’m a college graduate with everything in front of her. Celebration and de-cluttering are really the only viable options.

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I and Love and You

I’m a firm believer that art should be experienced, not written about. So, while I usually don’t feel inclined to write about performances I’ve seen, I did want to post about one particular moment in a concert I saw two days ago.

If you don’t know who the Avett Brothers are, you’re missing out. In fact, I suggest you stop reading, go to youtube, and look them up. OR! Better yet, read while you listen to them. Really, they’re fantastic. Bluegrassy, with a banjo, upright bass, cello, guitar, drums, piano, and stellar lyrics.

I was lucky enough to go see them perform on Sunday night with a few friends from the city. The place was packed, and, of course, the minute the band hit the stage, any thought of enjoying the concert sitting down disappeared. They were absolutely phenomenal! High energy, clearly loving what they were doing, with the audience swaying and singing along to every song.

About 3/4 of the way through their set, the familiar chords of the first song I ever heard by them reached my ears. “I and Love and You.” My heart leapt. The memories attached to that song swam in my head, and, feeling slightly sentimental, I reached up and put my arm around my friend’s shoulder. Within seconds, my friends and I were connected in one swaying, singing line. It’s strange- how connected you can feel to a song. In that moment, I was exactly where I needed to be, with the exact people I needed to be with. At a concert. Singing along to a group who loved what they were doing. Along with a thousand or so others.

All sarcasm and joking aside, it brought home to me once again the incredible ability music has to bring people together, to ground them, to enrich their lives, and make them feel that they are a part of something bigger.

Whistle While You…what’s that word again?

I’ll admit it. I am currently procrastinating. This would not be a problem if it was the first day I had been putting things off.  Nope.  It’s been a solid week of no work for this chick. Felt great, too, until  around 7:30 this morning. And yet, here I sit, typing out a new blog. My one defense is that it’s on a completely relevant topic: procrastination.

We’ve all done it. Whether we’re trying to avoid schoolwork, shopping for that incredibly finicky friend’s birthday, or applying for jobs, it’s an epidemic. I usually explain it away by saying, “Well, I work better under pressure,” and this might be true. However, here’s when I know I’m getting really desperate for procrastination activities:

1. I actually want to work on my survival job resume. This is a welcome task, something to celebrate.

2.  I call home for the seventh time that day, and my mother suggests that I “go play outside with the other kids.”

3.  Every single edible thing in reach is in danger. And I’ve just eaten lunch. For the second time. In an hour.

4. I tell my roommate that I’m going to the gym by myself on a Saturday, and I’m not joking.

5. I think it’s high time I pull out those bank statements and receipts and balance my checkbook. And, hey! While I’m at it, why not draw up a little financial plan for the next five years?

6. I run out of Prairie Home Companions to listen to, and start writing my own.

Yes, it’s beginning to look like the end of my procrastination is drawing near. Or it did. Until I got this text, actually, while I was writing this: Water Balloon Fight. 4:30. Damn. My homework plans foiled again. Well, at least I’m succeeding at one thing,  right? I mean, no one can say, after this week, that I can’t avoid work as well as the next college senior. And this skill is just bound to come in handy, time and again.

K’s Room. 5.4.11. (Or other uses for Toilet Paper)

With my impending graduation, reminiscing has become less of a hobby and more of a habit. I assume this is normal, as it’s pretty much running rampant throughout my entire class. Every quick exchange includes a comment about what little time is left and , “Oh! Remember when in freshman year we…” Luckily, I think we’re far enough out from the date that no one is falling into a hysterical heap on the floor at the mention of the time they blew their nose in the dining hall in October of sophomore year. I know this is coming. I intend to find shelter and wait it out when it arrives.

I can’t help but share a memory of my own, one that sticks out in my mind as a milestone in both college, and my life. Don’t worry. It’s not a dramatic coming-of-age tale, nor is it a Hallmark movie moment. Actually, it involves toilet paper. Lots and lots of toilet paper.

So, around this time last year, I was running through life at my usual pace-an all-out, no prisoners sprint. This included 18-credits of classes, two shows, and my lovely job of baking bagels. Rest was not an option, nor was finishing any sort of assignment ahead of time.

After a long, tiring, frustrating rehearsal, and the 20-minute drive back to school, I was not feeling particularly social. In fact, I was downright grumpy. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves grumpy. Before Snow White. I knew that two of my very good friends were on campus, and most likely waiting for me to get back (Let’s call them the Artist and the Intellectual). I was also well aware of the fact that I would most likely have a hard time escaping to my room once I bumped into them. So, to circumvent this, I sent the Artist a text, Hey. I’m exhausted and I have a paper to write, so I think I’m gonna call it a night. I entered my dorm building a few minutes later, dreading the next few hours I’d be spending with Microsoft Word. And there were the Artist, the Intellectual, and Kate (From “A Titanic Evening”), standing rather conspicuously on the staircase, waiting for me. “I know you’ve gotta do stuff, just wanted to say goodnight.” They followed me up the stairs to my room, watching me a little more closely than befit the situation, but I shrugged it off. And then- I found out why.

I opened my dorm room door, and was met by a wall of white. Streamers hung from my ceiling, blocking my view of the room. No, not streamers. Toilet paper. I entered cautiously, expecting there to be something in the room they wanted to obscure. But the toilet paper did not end. My entire ceiling was covered, the toilet paper hanging down in long strips.

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I was stunned. And then I was laughing. Uncontrollably. It was as if I was swimming. There was so much toilet paper hanging from my ceiling that I couldn’t see more than maybe 6 inches in front of me. The Artist stepped forward, and announced that this was an Art Installation entitled, “K’s Room. 5.4.11.” It was made up of four industrial-sized rolls of toilet paper and two hours of manual labor. Two. Hours. Then, I began to notice other things. Missing things. All of my make-up that had once resided on my bureau had been replaced by paper replicas. A paper dress and shirt hung neatly in my closet. Even my shoes had been replaced.

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Amazed, I called several other members of the house, all of whom seemed to know, but came to swim in my room regardless. A rousing game of hide and go seek followed (really, there was THAT MUCH toilet paper). It was the most unexpected, wonderful, insanely ridiculous thing anyone had ever done for me. Now, excuse me while I go collapse into a hysterical heap.

The Big Split

We’ve all been there. The months after a break up. That period of time where you are apparently marked with a sign that clearly states: RUN! I am undate-able and not over my ex! If you follow the preferred mathematical reasoning on how to get over a break-up, it’ll take roughly 6 months to be fully ready to hit the town again, heels on and lips glossed. In other words, you’ll be in a state of deep mourning for 6 months, at which time you will wake up and be utterly fine. Perfect. Good as new.

Weeeell…I doubt that.  And so, in the midst of my own journey through the unpleasant land of break-ups, I thought I would propose a different calendar of events for the newly single, but always fabulous. Here is what I deem as the various stages of getting over someone:

Stage 1: “This isn’t as bad as I thought it would be” This is that period of time directly after you two part ways in which you think, “Hey. I’m still standing. And I don’t miss him. Not really.” Awesome. You decide you can do just about anything. You’re young. You’re free. You’re more attractive than you ever were before.

Stage 2: “That was not true at all.” You’re also wrong. You will, in fact, have to cry. A lot. For several days. Kleenex will put you on their Christmas Card list.

Stage 3: “I am so motivated.” This is different for everyone, but the most common scenarios seem to be:

-Go to the gym every day and work out to angry music.

-Cut/dye hair.

-Try to get promoted at work.

-Take on a new hobby. Like puzzles. Or motocross.

-Get a pet.

-Learn to cook.

-Learn to use a fire extinguisher. Subsequently stop cooking.

Stage 4: “I need a punching bag. And a scotch.” This is the point where any thoughts of getting back together go straight out the proverbial window. Because you’re pissed. And self-righteous. And a little insane. (tip-breathing helps. so does meditating. you will probably not be able to do either.) You will most likely listen to a song like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHp2KgyQUFk&ob=av2e

or this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxUATkpMQ8A&ob=av2e

On repeat.

Stage 5: “Dry spells are why people stay in unhappy relationships.” Clearly this list does not apply to those who like rebounds. So, if you belong in that category, this is probably not true for you. For everyone else- face it. You will probably not be getting any anytime soon. Accept this. Take up knitting. Daydream. Watch “The Tudors.”

Stage 6: “Who is THAT?” Finally. And, yes, he’s single.

Moral of the story? Break ups suck. You know what doesn’t suck? Watching all three extended-edition Lord of the Rings movies and eating as much ice cream as you want to. Just a thought.

A Titanic Evening

3D films. They’re becoming the thing to do in the film industry. Remakes, cartoons, horror flicks-everyone’s trying it out, seeing how it affects ticket sales. Fine. I’m all for trying new things, pushing art (or movie making, which is sometimes a separate entity, in my opinion) further and further. I will also be the first to shout my disdain for 3D films to the high heavens. Pointless special effects that induce dizziness and headaches, all while wearing glasses every hipster in the world would gladly tackle you for- Forgive me if this does not sound entirely appealing.

That being said, sometimes you just have to go see a movie that’s in 3D- because you have no other choice. Last summer, I was outvoted in a group of people going to see Toy Story 3. I argued for 2D, even through the previews. Alas, Woody and Buzz flew out of the screen at my unwelcoming face (I will admit that the 3D wasn’t all that distracting in that case. There’s always an exception to every rule).

Last night, the film was Titanic. I understand if you need a minute to hum “My Heart Will Go On” or pretend that you haven’t thought about going to see it too. (It’s okay. Your secret’s safe with me.) I had never seen the film on the big screen, having been a few years younger than 13 when it came out.  Of course, as a theater major with rather eccentric, life-loving friends, it was decided that we should dress for the occasion. No, we didn’t wear floaties and bathing suits (although upon reflection, that would have been almost as fun). We wore clothing from the period.

What started out as a joke grew to an idea, then a plan, then reality as we snuck up to the third floor of the fine arts building of our college, armed with backpacks and large purses. We crept from room to room, flicking through racks upon racks of dusty, hardly ever used costumes, our eyes raking the hangers for signs of anything that looked remotely early 1900’s. Every sound made us jump, panicked at the thought of being found out. A door slamming on the floor below made our palms sweat, snippets of conversation that floated up the staircase to our straining ears caused us to hide behind Shakespearian capes and doublets. Finally, after about 45 minutes of trying on random pieces of clothing, hoping to create some semblance of an outfit, we left, feeling satisfied with our findings.

Now, our dorm is an old brown stone, complete with decked out sitting room and parlor- perfect for a Titanic photo shoot. We dressed and got ready as quickly as we could manage (That stereotype about women taking a while to get ready? Turns out it’s true. Who knew?) and reconvened in the parlor, giggling to ourselves, still unsure if we could really go through with this. The photo shoot commenced- complete with a Leo, Kate, and two random passengers: one a middle class girl, and me, a third class ticket holder (gotta represent everyone). Image
Here we are (minus Leo, who was snapping the photo.)

Fast forward a few hours later, and we’re in line at the concession stand. I was the last to arrive, and was greeted by the ticket holder with a knowing, Finally got here? You’re with the group who’s dressed up for Titanic, right?  Yes, I laughed. Gotta have some fun in life. Our group, about 10 people in total, took up the ends of two rows. I sat down at the end of one of the rows, staring somewhat apprehensively at the 3D glasses I had been given. Resigned, I slipped them on, and readied myself for what might be a dizzying few hours.

Yes, the 3D was unnecessary. Yes, it made me slightly sea-sick (get it?). Yes, I had seen the movie before. But none of that mattered. I got swept away by the familiar tune within the first ten minutes. About halfway through the movie, I had a realization- they have played that same little melody line at least 50 times. I don’t know how this had ever escaped my noticing. It was so obvious, almost grating due to its constant revamping- add a trill here, a slide there, and they won’t even recognize it!

Now, I had readied myself for the onslaught of tears that usually accompanies the viewing of this movie. I was armed with half a box of Kleenex in my lap, my friend’s (let’s call her Kate) hand securely placed in mine for moral support. But then the strangest thing happened. While everyone around me was sniffling (or full-blown sobbing), I felt my body go numb. It was as if my brain was saying You know what? Not today. Let’s just enjoy the film. No matter how sad I knew the situation was, I couldn’t bring myself to feel it. Odd. While it’s easy to blame the 3D, I think it was my brain’s way of letting me fully enjoy my evening. Funny how that works.

And enjoy it, I did. There’s something incredibly freeing about just doing something silly- and allowing yourself to get caught up in it. Yep, I was a part of that obnoxious group who sang along with Ms. Dion during the credits. Hell yeah, I posed on the arcade motorcycle as we left at 12:45 am (Wow, that’s a long movie). And, yeah- we dressed up for Titanic. Call it silly, stupid, ridiculous, fun- call it anything really. I call it a reminder that sometimes it’s the little things in life that make you remember to be grateful for everything else.

NE LGBT Conference

I go to an all-women’s college. This has, over the past four years, elicited sighs, eye rolls, fist pumps and the ever popular, “So, you’re a lesbian now?” from friends, family, and the occasional random shopper in line at Price Chopper. I laugh it off, prattle off some of the pros of going to such an institution, and then let them decide what to do with the information. Going to an all-women’s college has proven to not be at all what I, and most people I talk to, thought it would be: a bunch of lesbian, man-hating feminists burning bras and giving nasty looks at girls who dare to shave their legs.

That being said, this weekend my school is hosting the New England Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Conference (NE LGBT). Insert eye roll, sigh, lesbian comment here. It’s a pretty incredible experience, being in the midst of this. The conference’s mission is to “unite our diverse community through education, activism, and networking.” Awesome. I am totally behind this. I am also totally behind all of the insanely interesting keynote speakers hanging out, giving lectures, and doing shows on our campus.

Last night, I went to see Kate Clinton speak. She’s a political humorist, who calls it like she sees it through a lesbian, feminist lens.

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This is Kate. Her show, “All Fracked Up,” was an hour and a half commentary on the ridiculous ongoings in our political system. Seem a little too heavy? Not to worry-Kate peppered it all with a sometimes light-hearted humor, oftentimes cynical honesty that made her equal parts endearing and relatable.

The evening began with a small performance from the Albany Gay Men’s Chorus. Yes, this was exactly how you would picture it- middle aged men wearing black collared shirts and various brightly colored ties (all within the ROY G BIV spectrum), singing “Hello Dolly” and “He’s Got a Way.” Unfortunately, they just were not that good. Sitting next to my guy friend (let’s call him Toby), I joked, you should join. Yeah, he replied, maybe I could help straighten out their baritone section. Chuckling to ourselves, we politely golf-clapped along with the rest of the crowd, really just waiting for Kate Clinton to get onstage.

And then, there she was, dancing her way onstage to the heavy bassline of “I Got a Feelin.'” Toby and I straightened (pun not intended that time) up in our chairs, and got ready for…well, we didn’t know what. Kate is a spitfire. She jumped right into discussing the political climate, working her way through the BP Oil Spill, the Republican Candidates, and what the Obama Administration has done for the Gay community.

Also jumping right in were the three middle-aged women sitting right behind Toby and I- their almost too-loud laughter rang in our ears right alongside Kate’s zinging comments, bouncing back and forth between the two. I felt like I was caught in between some sort of private joke. Clearly, these women understood things I didn’t. I laughed  about half the time they laughed, and spent the rest of the time trying to figure out what was so damn funny.

While the whole show is almost a blur, one line stuck out. As Kate rambled on about lobbying for gay rights, she, for just a moment, dropped her cynical veneer, and said, simply and a little wearily:

I get tired of trying to change the hearts and minds of people who don’t have any.

The breath expelled out of me like I had been socked in the stomach. I looked over at Toby, who had a similar expression on his face. Sure I had just spent a good chunk of time trying to understand a large portion of her show. Yes, I thought she was funny or dead-on about half the time. But in that moment, all I could thing was:

Wow, Kate. Nailed it.