School is the Weirdest

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Image courtesy of Gotardo. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

While out at a Local Watering Hole with friends this weekend, there was a brief moment of discomfort when my friends realized that the folks standing nearby were a former middle school classmate and a former middle school teacher. My main reaction was one of delight: for once it wasn’t me running into someone from middle school! I am all about looking on the bright side.

The rest of the evening passed in a pleasant, uneventful way, but the run-in got me thinking about my K-12 education. Despite being a grade-a nerd, I had a perfectly pleasant time of public school. Because my memories of that time are mostly fond, it’s easy for me to forget that public education is occasionally completely bizarre. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that I spent 8 hours a day locked in a building where I had 22 minutes to eat lunch and the bathrooms were locked during that period to prevent people from having sex in them.

Which, by the way, did not ring any bells as weird during that time.

The moment that came to mind last night, however, came from high school. As a wee adolescent nerd, I was bussed over to a local science facility with others of my kind to learn about a variety of sciences for two periods a day. It was a good program, which allows for the best science teachers in the district (many of whom had been research scientists at some point) to talk to kids who actually cared about the subject. Continue reading

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The End of Time

This past week has been a great example of something that I find utterly… itch-inducing about college: the simultaneous dragging-on and obliteration of time. I spend most of my time worrying about things that are far enough in the future that I cannot do anything about them (family health issues, my post-grad employment prospects, registering for classes in six weeks when the course atlas isn’t even out) while also freaked out about the things that are approaching faster than I want them to (the timeframe to write my 100-page thesis, the end of the weird cocoon of the last few months, registering for classes in six weeks because the course atlas isn’t even out). Time–at least for me–never, ever passes normally in college. As a result of my particular cocktail of neuroses, this means that I’m pretty constantly anxious about projects that exist in the collegiate timeframe.

I realize that this is a weakness, but I really love short-term projects where I control a large part of the process. I like having a clear beginning and end date and am happy forging a path to connect the two. But when we get to something like my honors thesis–a 100-page document of original research which I have to have written and defended by mid-April–I’m at a loss. It’s a huge project! I want to be working on it so it can be done by February!

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Gone, baby gone

For the love of Christ, don’t put two condoms on. That is a terrible idea!

I am officially (as of last Saturday) in possession of an Associate of Arts degree from Oxford College of Emory University. It’s not actually in anything, as far as I can tell, but they gave me an inconveniently large piece of parchment with my name in a fancy font on it, so that’s got to be worth something. Thus ends my frequently-emotionally-conflicted tenure at the better of Emory’s two options for starting your degree*.

There was a lot of talk during the commencement speeches about community. That has been my favorite part about Oxford. When my car battery decided to scare me by almost going belly-up before graduation, I knew that there were people at Oxford who would help me tow my car or haul in a replacement battery or generally listen to me freak out. One of my friends helped me jump my car at 10:30 at night in the cold, and there is something–a very real something–to be said for friends who will help you out when they do not have to and when it is inconvenient and cold and late. There is something to be said for that, particularly when those people include not just your peers but your professors, your boss, and your chaplain (doubly so if you, like me, are an atheist–our chaplain’s awesome). That is wonderful. Continue reading

Number Six

This is the sixth-most-played song in my iTunes library (after, among other things, “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” and the Beastie Boys). It’s a cover of another song, which is number eight.

It’s weird to me that they’re both in my top ten. They’re both very much tied to strong emotional periods in my life, they way you have when you’re in high school freshman year of college, and you Feel with a capital “f.” The first song is a cover of the second, originally by The Knife, a weirdass Swedish band that wears bird masks and makes electronic music, which I was introduced to as a junior in high school by the boy who would later turn my heart into ground beef.

It was the summer after my junior year of high school, and it was one of those summers that actually mattered (and the last time I would have a free summer before being shunted off to Nerd Camp I, Nerd Camp II, and employment for different kinds of personal growth). Most of my friends were a year older than me, and I got sucked into their celebrations of having graduated in between being mad at my parents and brewing wine in a Nalgene in my closet (memories!). There was a lot of drinking Two Buck Chuck and finally feeling like I had people who liked me enough that they wouldn’t shun me if I danced around them, and taking long-exposure glowstick photos, and singing along to Kimya Dawson in the car without a whole lot to worry about.

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