Last spring, one of my good friends who was once a political economy major told me that Washington D.C. is the equivalent of Hollywood for people in our area of study. I imagine that in similar ways to Hollywood, D.C. is mostly a mythology. There are many ways that Washington D.C. is different from how I expected it to be, despite the time I've spent studying about the area.
Depending on when this is published, it is almost that time of year again. It’s time to consume a staggering amount of caffeine, sleep a clinically indefensible amount, and test the bounds of your immune system as a thick, sweaty wave of stress and despair floods over the campus.
I entered college with a couple goals. Amongst them was gaining a mentor. Many of my first classes consisted of silent judgement toward professors, deciding whether or not they were mentor material. One fated day, I made my decision in the form of a classy journalist: Alan Minskoff.
Two weeks ago 11 daring students (myself included) were dropped off in the remote and rugged lands of Stanley, Idaho. Carrying nothing but selfie sticks and high spirits, the scantily clad pack of undergraduates forged miles into the depths of the forest. Tears were shed. Tensions were had. It was man versus wild. For the few that made it out alive, these are their stories:
After spending a portion of summer in Southeast Asia, a typical Idahoan would opt for a less busy and less humid fall setting. Not wanting to be accused of being a typical Idahoan, I volunteered to don a suit in the swamps of the District of Columbia and jam myself into sweaty, crowded public transport during the first semester of my senior year.
The first and only feeling I had when I stepped onto campus my freshmen year was fear.
Not only was the college a completely new place, but I also was moving into a stranger-filled dorm from another state. Every situation was unfamiliar, from sharing a room with somebody to sleeping on a twin sized bed (I’m a privileged white girl, I sleep on a queen).
It wasn’t until I landed in the DMK Bangkok airport for a layover that I began to grasp the implications of traveling alone to foreign country, where I am unfamiliar with the language and culture. Sure, maybe I would be able to survive for the next two weeks, but was I about to waste most of my year’s savings on some bizarre, uncomfortable cultural pilgrimage?
Three thousand years from now, archeologists will dig up my tattered bones from the rubble of what is now The College of Idaho. I imagine they would assess the scene and debate my cause of death in the following manner:
Scientist #1 “There appears to be blunt force trauma. Perhaps she was hit by a bus?”
Scientist #2 “No, due to the deep lacerations, it’s possible it was due to something internal.”
After a few minutes of controversy there would be a unanimous diagnosis; I died of embarrassment.
I have taken my last final. I have turned in my last paper. Aside from actually walking across the stage at graduation, I am officially done at the College of Idaho. It still doesn’t feel real. And I am completely terrified. I have a (very) rough plan of what I'm doing after college, but mostly I'm just wandering aimlessly trying to figure out something to do with my life.
Location. It’s a word that Adrienne Rich planted in the middle of my mind.
The spaces we occupy are special in that we shape them by being there and they shape us in a complimentary manner. The Voorhees Bench shapes my flabby buttocks as I roost, then my mind as I talk to the community centered by this place, this location. I shape it with cigarette butts in the garbage can, by removing refuse here then there. We change each other. This is what location is.