Sunday, December 30, 2007

From Prom Dresses to Business Suits: four short years

I felt like I was back in high school, getting ready for a homecoming dance. We trooped between every major department store in the mall, during which time I spent most of my energy struggling into and out of countless ill-fitted garments. Putting things back onto their hangers was almost as difficult as putting them onto my body. Sizing proved to be just as illogical as it ever has been (I fit into everything from a 4 to a 12, depending on designer), and, of course, the outfit was not complete without shoes. The only major differences between dress-shopping and suit-shopping were 1) the “we” trooping between stores consisted of me and my parents (not me and my friends), 2) the purchases were all made in the women’s department (rather than the junior’s or formal wear departments), and 3) the price: I never spent more than $100 total for any complete homecoming or prom getup (including makeup, hair, jewelry, shoes, etc.). The business suite alone—minus the blouse to go underneath and high-heeled shoes that will prevent the pants from mopping the floor—cost almost $180. Why is becoming a Real Adult so expensive?

Not to mention stressful. I am now spending the days of my Christmas Break—which were once filled with relaxed, homework- and study-free sleep and pleasure reading—researching different publishing houses and brainstorming responses to questions I may be asked at my Random House interview. My pleasure reading now alternates between Bill Bryson’s The Mother Tongue—which I checked out of Rush Rhees library in order to read for fun over break—and How to Interview like an MBA—which a near-and-dear friend gave me as a Christmas present, and which I am steadily plowing through as if it were a textbook, taking copious notes and sticky-tabbing every relevant page.

Meanwhile, I am trying to establish all the places I want/need to go while I am actually in New York City (my original destinations of NBC and the CIC career fair as well as Columbia University Press and perhaps Oxford University Press), as well as all of the people I am going to try to see (my cousin, a former UR writing instructor, the director of my one-act play from when it was performed at UR my freshman year). I need to find myself a map, compile all of my directions, find my plane tickets, print out copies of my resume, and fit all of these things into a briefcase I do not yet have.

Growing up is too much work.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Warm Fuzzies #2: Being a critic

For my Brain and Cognitive Science (BCS) Senior Seminar class this past semester, one of our assignments was to critically review a paper written by another student. We did this by writing our own "response/critique" paper in APA style, pointing out what was good about the paper as well as suggesting what the author may have done better and noting any grammatical/typological errors. Then, we sent this paper to our professor, who graded our critique and then passed it on to the student-author, who would then use it to make revisions to their own paper.

Needless to say, I have quite a bit of practice doing this sort of assignment, since it is more-or-less what I do as a Writing Fellow and is especially akin to what I do for Write-on, the e-mail response-based portion of Writing Fellows. Thus, I was sufficiently confident in my ability to critically review another student's BCS paper. Needless to say, I could not have anticipated this comment, which my professor wrote at the bottom of my critique, above the grade:

[Expletive!] I need your advice on my own papers! Superbly done.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

An unusually pleasant mishap

Everyone knows that oh-my-god-what-have-I-done feeling of waking up late. I would wager that it’s a universal adrenaline rush to wake up, glance at your clock, and realize it is one hour after you were supposed to be at work. Now, take that feeling and amplify it by the kind of rush-y, loopy feeling that comes with the fatigue of having only managed to sleep for four hours in the last twenty-four, and you’ll have what my morning this morning felt like.

For some godforsaken reason, I somehow thought it would be a good idea to work my morning shift at Hillside cafĂ© yesterday (6:15-11:30a.m., which would normally have been 7-11:30a.m., except that some considerate member of the upper UR Dining echelon decided that students like to eat breakfast earlier during finals week, so I had to have the shop open by 7:30a.m. rather than the normal 8a.m. opening time), then return at 7:30p.m., work until closing at 2:30a.m., and then return (later) this morning at 6:15a.m. to re-open and work my regularly scheduled shift (until 12p.m.). Brilliant, I know. I was just so relieved to be finished with schoolwork, I figured making money would be a good way to fill up the extra time I had until I got back to Pittsburgh. And, to be fair, my friend/former coworker-now-turned-manager asked me to work that closing shift. She knew people would not show up—they never do during finals week—which she knew would make things miserable, and she offered to pay me double. In light of all of those factors, how could I refuse?

Needless to say, I ended up staying awake until about 5a.m. this morning, at which point I was afraid I would fall asleep accidentally (I had determined at that point to try and stay awake all the way through), so I set my alarm clock just to be safe. Unfortunately, I apparently set my actual clock rather than the alarm. Thus, around 7:20a.m. I developed a suspicious feeling—while I was asleep, no less—that I was oversleeping and woke myself up. Sure enough, exactly two minutes later, the manager from Danforth (the next guy higher up on the food services totem pole) called me wanting to know where I was. I apologized profusely while trying to pull on my shoes with one hand and pull my hair into some semblance of a ponytail with the other. I have never run through the snow and slush so fast in my life.

When I got there, the Danforth manager and Darlene, the woman who cooks omelets and pizza for Hillside, were making coffee and putting out bagels (two of my morning responsibilities for opening). This particular morning, I was supposed to open alone, so I thanked them again and ran around trying to finish up everything else. However, much to my amazement and pleasant surprise, because I had closed the coffee shop the night before, everything was already pretty much in place and ready to go. All of the tasks that usually take an hour to complete, I finished up in ten minutes!

I served my first customer at 7:40a.m. How about that for an unexpected source of pride?

Bonus quote: Apparently I say some pretty bizarre things when I am deliriously tired. Here is one such quote that I can actually remember saying this morning. In regards to putting out the bagels:

“Raisin and blueberry go together. Not like raisin and poppy seed. They’re not berries.”

Monday, December 17, 2007

Warm Fuzzies #1: Those Little Compliments

You know those little compliments that just kind of make your day? Well I want to start listing them. I have a few stockpiled that I have recieved via e-mail, so I am going to start with one that I received a few weeks ago from a friend. Ironically, the compliment actually came from his sister. Here is an abbreviated version of what he wrote:

i was briefly hangin out wit my lil sis. i started to show her pics of girls,"who i may know". my lil sis could be super cool at times. most of girls, she was like," dusty hoes". i did show her a couple of your pics. she said, " America's next top model"... jokingly.

Hey, jokingly or not, I'll take the compliment. Tyra Banks, watch out!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Eat Up

My views on campus dining, as published in the Campus Times.
  • UR meal plans take a bite out of frugal spending 10/18/07
  • Meal plans club students 1/27/05
  • Letter to the Editor a responst to "Meal plans club students", 2/10/05
  • Tuesday, December 11, 2007


    The mind is a strange matter. The more pressing deadlines I have, the more important my projects are, and the more involved I am in them, the more I simultaneously obsess over tangential matters.

    Case in point: I am currently working on two huge final projects for the end of the semester: 1) a lab report and group presentation involving a semester-long study of preschooler’s memories and 2) a research paper analyzing how the language and grammar of science conceals and therefore subconsciously furthers cultural values and biases.

    Meanwhile, I am obsessing over the following matters (in no particular order): how dusty my room is; what I need to buy at home over break and bring back to Rochester; who I need to see over break and when I will have the time to see them; how to eat all of my vegetables before they spoil without making the same thing for dinner every night; letters to which I have not yet responded; how I feel about a certain guy in Pittsburgh; how I feel about a certain guy in Rochester; whether or not I should put my Newsweek magazines out in the lounge because they are taking up space on my desk but I have not yet finished reading them and they may disappear if I put them out for general enjoyment before I am done with them; when I’m going to have time to do laundry; how I am going to have energy to go to the gym tomorrow at 9 p.m. without napping during the day; whether or not I can renew my library books for a third time; whether or not I owe library fines for the interlibrary loan books that were due at the beginning of last month; when I am going to find time to watch Girl, Interrupted which I borrowed from a classmate; what hours I scheduled myself at Hillside next semester; what hours I should schedule for Writing Fellows next semester; whether or not my chopping knife is missing (the one I bought in Brighton no less!); and whether or not the gifts I ordered from Amazon will arrive on time.

    Just to name a few.

    Thursday, December 6, 2007

    Why there is no sleep at the end of the semester

    Add another several dozen book--opened to various pages and with various papers sticking out of them--surrounding that guy, and you'll have an accurate picture of life right now. Yay deadlines.

    Tuesday, December 4, 2007

    Analysis of the characters in the TV show House

    "We’re supposed to like Thirteen. That’s why she’s not called Cutthroat Bitch."
    --quoteth my suitemate Hayley