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Hey Infinity is 6 years old now – being just have had a birthday this month. And no, no one sent it or me birthday cake. Yes, we are offended.

This means I created this little space on the internet when I was 20. Back when I wasn’t legally allowed to drink – one year before I bought my first (and only yet) bottle of adorably pink, strawberry Boone’s Farm wine, and tiny rainbow-sprinkled cupcakes for the crazy 21st celebration I had with my friend and her cat. One year after I voted in my first Presidential election, smiling as I colored in the tiny bubble with a pencil to support Barack Obama, thinking to myself that much-younger me would have been shocked to know that my Republican parents’ opinions hadn’t stuck with me to adulthood.

When it was a new infinity and not a 6-year infinity veteran, I ordered some tiny business cards that have the website on one side and “I think you’re beautiful” on the other.The idea was, I am pretty sure, to give those away to people so they knew this place existed, or forcefully leave them on cars, or stick them in random places wherever I found myself – all of which I never did. When they arrived in the mail, I opened my package to find someone else’s cards, listing actual helpful information like a contact email. I emailed the lady, told her I had gotten her cards by mistake, and suggested the following: She would probably get my cards in the mail soon, and when she did, we would swap, and also report the error to the printer, thereby getting another order for free from them. And she agreed! It worked out well in the end. And so, yes, I have two tiny boxes of tiny business cards that I still am planning on someday giving away. Probably. Maybe in 6 more years.

I’ve been thinking about that statement a lot recently. “I think you’re beautiful.” Six years ago, I was infatuated with newness. With people. With places and all that they held. The world was magical to me. I wanted to see all of it. I wanted to tell everyone that they were a beautiful story. I wanted to write them all poems about the sky.

Right now, it is so hard to feel that way. Is it not? There seems to be so much more hatred and violence and sadness and fear and global warming. Our planet is dying, and we are dying, and our teeth are falling out.

I know it is all still there, everything I used to see. I am searching for it, still. I want to feel all of those things again, and just as deeply. It was a wonderful way to be.

There is goodness and beauty. There will be safety and logic. We will keep going, together. Please send cake next year.

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He’s got his life planned out. He’s got a plan. At least a little one. Me I just like looking at vague blurry pictures on Tumblr. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m not mad about that, it’s just a fact. A terrifying one. He speaks well and is still going to school and I’ve been out for a year and a half now and I don’t talk nearly as smart as he does. I need to work on my vocabulary, I tell myself. I need better words.

I tell my young friend that it seems to always be like this. We talk about graduating from high school. She’s younger than my little brother by a year and a half but I like him and I still like her. I tell her all my wisdom, all that I’ve stored up and learned. Life’s like this, I say. You don’t know what you’re doing. You never do. That’s how it is. Wise stuff like that.

I look at this picture of birds flying all scattered about. It’s like that, I think. That’s exactly what it’s like.

I read terrible poems by young Bukowski and shake my head at them. I look at pictures of my grandma’s grandma and shake my head at them. No one knew what they were doing. Maybe they figured it out eventually, maybe they didn’t. Maybe there’s nothing to figure out. We’re a pack of birds or a flock of them, and here we are, all together and winging and scrambling anywhere and everywhere. Making plans and worrying and crying and reading bad poetry and trying to learn something before we take off for the real world or winter vacation or before our parents die and leave us alone here, inheritors of this.

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We sat in a row on the ground in the backyard of someone’s house at someone’s halloween party. We were watching two costumed people fight with fake swords — I think the female version of John Snow won in the end, somehow; I’m not sure how you win a fake fight.

The backyard belonged to a house that belonged to a group of college students — anyway maybe that explains why the backyard was only patches of grass and the ground was mostly scraggly dirt, large rocks, a spare desk chair, and an old couch that everyone was avoiding. Most people were standing anyway, looped into circles of hand-made-costumed art majors waving clear plastic cups full of questionable mixed drinks around in the air as they spoke. My little group — three girls sitting on a row of lumpy rocks — cycled between watching the sword fight, chatting, and gazing around at other people.

I was in town from out of state, visiting my friend in her city for the second time in as many months. It was November 1st, and I had just  Mega-Bussed my way south for 8 hours, Halloween costume shoved into my backpack.

As we sat in our little artsy row, another person came to join us. And his costume was confusing but very good and I had to ask him what it all meant and sometimes that’s the way homemade costumes and art both are.  And the four of us continued the chatting and watching and gazing cycle. And really it’s not entirely true that my friend was the only person I knew at the party, because I had met this boy before, a month earlier, during my first visit to the city.

The rest of the party happened and then ended, after John Snow won the fight and we all got up from the rocky, dirty, chair-y backyard and danced in the room that is usually the dining room and drank more questionable drinks made by two college kids dressed as a werewolf and the universe. And the rest of my visit happened, happily, spending time with my friend and exploring the city she lived in which was slowly becoming my third favorite, after my hometown and Chicago.

I remember at one point during the next day how I found myself with nothing much to do for a few hours, as my friend was working on a project for school. And I could have done a lot of things with that free time. And I remember thinking about the boy from the party, the intriguing beautiful artsy boy, and I wondered what he was doing as I was sitting around (writing this), and if he would agree to get coffee if I asked him, or just wander, or chat, or gaze at other people somewhere in my new, third-favorite place.

These were all things I thought about but didn’t do. And I Mega-Bussed back home and his name was added to the list of “Cool People I Should Have Hung Out With.” Almost a year later, and that list slowly continues to grow. Of course the other list, the cool people I have hung out with, is much longer, but there are names that I’ve missed, people I’ve missed out on, experiences I haven’t had, for no good reason other than I was too afraid or too unmoved or too lazy, or a cycle of all three. And that’s no good. That list exists but it shouldn’t. This is a true story but it shouldn’t be.

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1. Last week someone accused me of being “deep into the art scene”, and I wasn’t so sure that was accurate. This week I hammered a pencil onto a wall as part of an art project. So there’s that.

2. It’s the people you’re with, not the place you’re in. I heard some lady in a store say something similar a few days after I realized this to be true. You’re onto something, lady.

3. You don’t always have to go to school to learn. A lot of times, the world can be your classroom. At least that’s what I’m telling myself as a college graduate.

4. Tip of the day: don’t talk/laugh/grin to yourself when other people can see you. At any other time, go for it.

5. My favorite thing to do is travel, but oftentimes it leaves me sad, knowing more street names and parks and lovely people, knowing them and leaving them behind.

6. When does a song stop belonging to someone else? “Your song”, “his song”, “our song”. When does ownership end, with the memory?

7. After spending 8 hours on a megabus traveling across two states, an 8 or 12 hour flight to the other side of the globe seems less daunting. (Also megabus is freaking cheap/awesome BTW!)

8. Remember disposable cameras?

9. Sure you’re busy driving your car through heavy traffic trying not to crash into that guy who just pulled in front of you, and sure you’re busy trying to pass your accounting exam that seems super important to your life right now, and sure you’re creating a cure for cancer — just remember to look up at the stars at night.

10. Overrated or Underrated? Skype. Pickles. Blue eyes. You.

Here’s a question for you: What are you most afraid of?

Me? Not the dark, or heights, or strangers. I’m afraid of living the wrong life.

I’m afraid that I’ll take a job in San Francisco, or Los Angeles, because it’s in San Francisco, or Los Angeles, and I’m afraid I’ll be satisfied with doing a job that isn’t satisfying, and, therefore, living a life that isn’t satisfying.

Maybe me saying this negates all my worries. Maybe I’m  waging a war that hasn’t happened yet; that won’t.

Maybe what I’m most afraid of is not being able to find it, the job I always assumed was waiting for me, somewhere. I still believe it’s out there, I just don’t know how to find it, where to look. I’m afraid I’ll miss it, pass over some link on the internet, or walk by the man wearing a puffy winter coat (I’m imagining this will take place in Chicago, in the winter, of course.) who could make it all happen.

Then again, I feel like if I can’t find what it is I’m looking for in San Fran or LA or wherever I end up, I’ll just make it. I’ll make my dream job. I honestly believe it’s possible.

This is my war, my battle. My I-just-graduated-college-and-have-to-find-a-job battle. I’m off into the real world (because people tell me the real world is a real thing), yet refusing to let the real world happen to me the way I’ve always expected it to attempt to.

And yet here, at the end of this thought, I’m still left where I was when I began a few sentences back. The war is still waging, the fear is still real, and there’s no one-liner that can end it.

1. Don’t ever wave at cars without the driver/passenger of said cars waving at you first. Otherwise the person driving won’t see you and you’ll end up having waved at a car. This is an important life lesson.

2. Nope. I still don’t like babies.

3. In High School you’re told to choose what you want to be when you grow up. In College you’re told to pick a major that will help you become what you want to be when you grow up. Then you graduate and do whatever the hell you want. People find themselves in places they didn’t expect to be back in High School, or even in College, but it turns out alright.

4. Just do what makes you happy. Don’t over-think it.

5. I think the sort of music people listen to matches the beat of what’s usually going on in their heads.

6. Every day that you’re hesitant about doing something is another day that passes you by. Life rolls on. Keep moving.

7. Make it happen. The days of waiting for someone else to do it, or, “You know what’s a good idea?” are over. Who’s going to do it if you don’t? No one. Exactly. Or, someone else will steal your great idea and become super famous and successful and happy. (Probably not.)

8. Life rolls on. Keep moving — but slowly enough that you head in the direction you truly want to go.

9. Know when to get out of the way.

10. Can we (we= everyone on the entire planet) please stop (over-)using the following words: “gentrification”, “millennials”, and “creatives”. I must have missed the please-use-these-words-every-other-sentence-in-order-to-sound-hip/intelligent memo. Stop. Just stop.

Today I was talking to my friend about graduating college – a thing he and I both are going to experience here pretty soon – May 5th, 2013, to be exact. He was telling me his post-graduation plans, and I was keeping quiet about my own. I don’t really know yet where I’m going go, what I’m going to do. I also told him that the more college classes I take, the less intelligent I feel.

I think there’s a lot of different ways you can take that statement. It can mean that I’ve realized how unintelligent I am, or how bad at college I am – But that’s not what I meant.

I meant that the more college classes I take – the more information I take into my brain, the more subjects I get exposed to, the more history I find out about, the more people I learn about that I previously didn’t know existed – the more unintelligent I feel. I’m graduating from college soon, but I don’t feel like I know very much at all.

As my graduation date approaches, I’m beginning to wish I would have double-majored. Or took a third minor. Or majored in Theatre, or Linguistics, or French, or Biology. I’m not done learning – I don’t think I ever will be. I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I know enough – like I’m intelligent enough.

Sure, I could keep going to school for forever – for the rest of my life. Maybe I would do that, if it didn’t cost thousands of dollars per year. But people don’t go to college to learn, they go to get jobs.

So, in order to keep learning, without going to college – what do I do? How do keep experiencing things in my life  which will improve my understanding of the world? Or the universe? How can I feel like each day is improving the person that I am?

Do I just have to find a job that I like? That makes me happy? Do I just use my college education for what it’s meant for: getting a higher-than-minimum-wage-paying job?

Do I travel? Do I meet and talk to new people as often as possible? Do I read books and blogs and listen to podcasts and radio programs and watch cool movies?

What do I do?

Once they had me that scrap of slightly-thicker-than-normal paper with my name on it, what do I do?

The best and worst moments of my life have been when cute boys have smiled at me.

I was sitting in my beige SUV with the engine on, getting ready to leave school and head home for the day. Music from my iPod was already flowing through my speakers as I pulled the seatbelt around me and clicked it in.

Looking up and through the windshield, I made eye contact with a student passing by. A boy. A blonde boy. He wore a blue stocking cap over his shoulder-length hair. He smiled at me.

I looked away. Then, back. He was already past the front of my vehicle. Gone.

I shifted into reverse and backed out from my parking spot, wondering. Who was he? Where was he? I couldn’t see him anymore.

I shifted into drive, heading in the direction he had been walking: away. Away from the school, away from the parking lot, away from me. I slowly drove past one car, and another… searching for him with my eyes. Then,  there he was. Walking to his car. Our eyes met, again, and I quickly looked away. Again. Again, again, again.

Who was he? Why did I look away? What would have happened if I hadn’t? What if I had smiled back? What if I had stopped my car and jumped out?

Driving away, doing none of those things, I wondered.

I thought about the potential in that moment: sitting there, watching the boy smile. I thought about all of the small moments of potential that have passed me by. I thought of that boy who had passed me by, and I him.

Three years ago, back in the autumn of 2010, I had an English class at my University, where all we did was read poetry and examine poetry and talk about poetry, etc. It was sort of an introductory English class, with simple goals for its students: learn how English works; learn all the little rules of grammar; learn how to read and think about writing – stuff like that. I’d had a few English classes before it, and I’ve had many since, so not much that I learned in that class has stuck with me – I made a few friends, have a few good memories, and, I’m sure, was sent away with a greater appreciation for poetry. One thing, though, from that class, has always stuck with me. Or, rather, has refused to stick with me. A poem.

I remember this poem vaguely. I remember that it was about a woman driving her car along an expressway during a traffic jam; that she noticed a flock of birds flying through the sky – I remember it was simple and beautiful and that even as a newly enrolled English Major, way back when in 2010, it spoke to me.

I’ve been searching for and wondering about this poem for a long time. Over time, I forgot who wrote it. I forgot the title. The only things I could remember were the birds and the traffic jam and that I loved it.

Now, fast-forward to 2013. I’m about to graduate college – I’m finishing up one last semester – and that poem still finds its way into my mind from time to time. Today, going through some of my files on a computer at school, I came across an old paper I typed up three years ago in that English class where we talked about poetry.

The file was called “Poetry Journal”, and I opened it only with mild curiosity, not yet realizing what I might find within it. Inside, a list of titles to several poems, with my thoughts of them underneath. I scrolled down the page, skimming with uninterested eyes. Then, I found it. My poem. The title, anyway. And the author. With a quick, excited trip to Google, I quickly found the words I had been searching for. I read it again, and I still loved it. My eyes followed along with the lines of the poem as if I had never lost it – perhaps I have dreamt about this poem many times.

It seems funny to me that the file containing the title to this poem has been around all this time, and I’ve just now found it. Maybe because I’m feeling nostalgic – I’m wondering about the person I was three years ago, when I still had so many moments to experience, so many new things to learn, so many more people to meet. Three years from now, I’ll be long gone from the University I’ve called home for so long now – and maybe I’ll find this poem again and think back to this moment.

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Today was a strange day.

I got up early to do some laundry. I ate a grapefruit for breakfast. All very exciting.

It was raining. No, it was lightly drizzling. It was the kind of weather that nobody likes – not even ducks. This went on all day long.

I had a class today that started at 12:30. I got to school at 10:00 (early enough to get a good parking spot). I sat in the library for two hours, waiting for class time to come around.

It was rainy, and I was too warm in that library. Bored, waiting for two hours with nothing to do, I went online to see what I had gotten on a Psychology exam I took last week. An 85%. Not so great.

Then I checked my school email account. In it, an email from the school about my upcoming graduation (in May). With it, a realization that this is almost all over. Something else is coming.

Another email, asking me if I wanted to pre-purchase tickets for an event in early August 2013. With it, a realization that I might not be in the US next summer. I can’t make plans. Something else is coming.

12:00 came around. Suddenly, I didn’t want to go to class. I wanted to leave. I wanted to go home – no, not home. Just elsewhere.

I walked out to my truck. 12:05. Should I go to class? Students walked past as I sat in my vehicle, staring at the clock on the dashboard. What do I do?

I turned the key. A lady walked by carrying an umbrella over her shoulder. I put the truck in reverse and pulled out of my parking spot.

Where to go? To Target. Once there (not very far from my school), I sat in my truck for a moment. I fiddled with my phone. I put my ipod into my glovebox (to prevent theft). I sat longer. I fiddled around on Twitter: “I don’t know where I’m going; I’m just running away.”

Target. I could just go wander around in there. I could see if they have any cute underwear on sale. I don’t really need anything. I don’t really have any money.

I put my seatbelt back on, and took my ipod back out of the glovebox. I didn’t want to go to Target. I pulled back onto the road, onto the expressway, again, heading towards home.

Gas prices are down a lot. $3.33 a gallon today. I could get gas. I’ve only got a half tank.

I pulled into the Meijer gas station. A lady was walking out from the gas station store when I pulled in. She walked awfully close to my truck as I zoomed past her on my way to a pump. I didn’t slow down like I normally would have. I got too close.

I pull in, check my mirror to see if the tank is close enough to the gas pump (I never pull up far enough and have to stretch the hose too far over).

“Ma’am?” The lady is walking over. My first thought: Is she angry that I got too close?

“The gas station has no power. The pumps aren’t working.”

“Oh, Thank you.”

I think: Do I really look like a ‘Ma’am’? Why do people say that to me?

The engine is still on, so I put my truck back into drive and pull away – back onto the road. Towards home.

I don’t have to work today. Just school. Only, I didn’t have school, did I? I’ve got to study tonight. Lots to study.

I still need gas. I drive closer towards home, through the city, into the country. I go North. I stop at another gas station. I wonder if I’m feeling cranky today. I wonder if I’m just hormonal. I wonder if it’s because the sun has gone farther away.

This was the first time I’ve skipped class this semester. I was doing so well. I feel guilty. Class starts in 6 minutes, and I know I’m not going back.

I pump gas into my truck. I wasted gas going to school for nothing. I knew I just should have stayed home in the first place. I felt it. But I don’t skip class.

I stop the counter at exactly $30.00. There’s one small accomplishment for the day. I take it. I print out a receipt. I never print out receipts. I shove it into my little brown purse along with my credit card. Other people are buying gas, too. I feel so tired of this. We all do the same things.

I drive towards home. My gas tank is full. This make me happier. The weather is still gray. I listen to my Paolo Nutini CD. I think about how his voice matches the weather.

I pull into my driveway. My parent’s driveway. My dad is home. Of course he is. I go to my room. I feel better. Maybe because my bedroom walls are painted bright yellow – much too bright for the color scheme of the rest of our house. My parents’ house. I put down my backpack. In it, the books I didn’t use today. A reminder. Something else is coming. But today, you were not the person you are supposed to be.

Today was a strange day.