Journal of a Junior Pt. 2: Celebrating the Little Victories

Celebrate the little victories (not my photo)

(If your eyes are tired, just skip to the bottom for no words, just pictures) The past few weeks have been a bit rough. Why it is that mid-terms seem to last for like three weeks when finals only count for one? I’ll never know, but I digress.

Tuesday is by far my busiest day. I usually have some paper due (or it’s French Toast stick day), in either case, I have to wake up early. Then trudge a steep, ice-covered hill to the very edge of campus to a building called “The Octagon.” True to its name, the tip is shaped like a stop-sign, which should be cool. But it’s also a very old building, with extremely creaky floors and stairs that separate the building’s two rooms.

The room at the top is where my poetry class is held and it’s a bit uncomfortable at times. Seriously, the room is so drafty that during one class, a bat decided to torment us by taking laps and swooping low over our heads until our professor finally gave in and dismissed class. I always end up wearing at least three layers (and sometimes my coat) just for that class.

When that class ends (today’s topic was erotic poetry written by another professor at the college–talk about awkward), I briskly walk across campus to get a lunch bag at the campus center. I only have thirty minutes until my bus comes. As I’m descending the only main path to the center, a long narrow staircase, a FedEx truck comes and directly blocks the opening between the end of the stairs, the center, and another truck behind him. By this point, I’m already at the bottom of the stairs, I only have twenty minutes, and my options are somehow maneuver around his truck or go back up the stairs then walk down the street around the truck. Hmm…

I ease my bloated bookbag and self through a small crevice between the truck and a four-foot pile of dirty snow. My boots and tips of jeans sink into it. “Excuse me,” I say, parting between the the two FedEx men carrying a conversation.

Once inside, the line isn’t as long as it could be, but it still takes a while. The bright side? Trail mix with M&M’s were put out just as I approached (yes, I’m a dork who gets excited over chocolate trail mix). Fifteen minutes left.

I rush to my dorm and drop off my poetry book, take off my socks to air out those bad boys. It lasts a second before I gather my things and head to the bus stop.

On Tuesdays, I take a class at another college twenty minutes away. I like to get there about half an hour early to eat lunch and catch up on reading (or rather, finish it) in their much larger, much quieter, much better (Jo Bros anyone?) library. I was five minutes early to the bus stop and waited. Okay, it should be here now. Five minutes passed. This is weird. It’s usually not late. Ten minutes. Oh man. Another bus doing the tail-end of the same route pulled up. A twenty-something year-old beach-blond in a puffy blue jacket blasted Taylor Swift tunes from his place in the driver’s seat. An elderly couple who had been sitting asked about the late bus.

He lifted his sunglasses to his hair. “Yeah, it turns out that that bus actually broke down, and you can take it but it’ll get you there much later. I do the same route in like twenty minutes, when I come back, but you can take this one too.”

They climbed on and after confirming that he was definitely going to my destination, I did too.

I got to the classroom ten minutes before it started and quickly ate lunch, making polite albeit forced conversation with the only other classmate in the room: a very tactless, seemingly falsely enthusiastic, and at many times, impatient peer. (We’d also been put into the same peer-editing group for a paper, so my feelings on the subject aren’t exactly isolated.) It’s an all-girls school and as I munched my ham and cheese sandwich with pickles, lettuce, and tomato, I learned that most of them were passionately and vocally vegetarians. As they complained about their dining hall’s sucky hummus recipe and tofu concoctions, I kept my sandwich close, hoping no one would notice the meat, stuffing more and more of it into my mouth.

Class moved briskly ahead, ending quickly as everyone, even our usually exuberant professor, began to lull towards the end of the three-hour seminar in the hot room. I had already shed my coat and one of my layers as well as traded my boots for the sneakers I kept in my backpack (I refuse to succumb to this northern climate indoors!). She handed back papers as the class began to shuffle out of the room. As I walked outside, my shoulders slumped. It began to snow Not again.


When March started, I hoped warmer weather would too, but so far, in only three days, we’d already received two days of snow. Funnily enough, back home in Georgia, I would’ve killed for snow. Not now though. At least in the South, when it snows, you get a day off. Here? You just have to suffer through it. It’s like Dante’s Inferno and Winston Churchill combined, “If you’re going through Hell, keep going,” and that Hell happens to be the ninth circle–icy.

Later in my room, I was trying again to motivate myself to work (read: searching for Avengers fanfiction and head-banging to the High School Musical 2 soundtrack) when I decided it’s time to bite the bullet: check and see what grade I got on that paper. I took a deep breath as I fished it out of my binder, then flipped it to the back page…I passed! Yessss!

I switched “What Time Is It?” to “Because I’m Awesome” and did some enthusiastic hand-motions while remaining in my chair.  (I was excited, sure, but still exhausted enough to remain seated) An hour later, my computer pinged with a new email from the same professor, approving my topic for my next paper. What ensued next was an epic dance break that will stand the test of time, starting with Glee‘s version of “Shout” and ending with Fall Out Boy’s “20 Dollar Nose Bleed.” I didn’t even try to make it look good–just some pure arm-flailing, hip shaking, bad lip-synching, and hair flipping in the mirror. It’s therapeutic.

Because, let’s be honest here. Saying I looked like this is too generous:

(Ironic: This is an ad for post workout pain)

Probably better to say I dance more like this?

This is from a coloring book? Creepy

Wait, no, it’s winter, so this:

A little scary, no?

But actually, this is most accurate any time of year so

Yes

Yep, that’s me. (Thank you, Allie Brosh).

Neck sore, arms sweating and a full fifteen minutes later, I paused mid-fist bump to realize my next problem: for my new topic, a historic tale of how black ice shut down the town of Atlanta a year ago–I needed people to interview. But it had been months (for most, years) since I’d heard from anyone except my mom who stayed behind in Georgia when I left for New England. Every high school teacher and counselor and librarian and friend I’d promised to keep in touch with…well, the phone didn’t work either way, did it?

I had my topic, but how was I going to actually do it? Seems like my song choices aren’t the only throwbacks I’ll face this week. The dance party was nice while it lasted.

Song of the Week:“Because I’m Awesome” by Dollyrots

[InsertCleverPhraseHere],

Ash M. Monty

[Imported from http://www.montysmayhem.blogspot.com ]

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