Tag 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.

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.