by Karen Roberts Turner, Class of 1986
When I reflect back on my days at Vassar, the snapshots that most immediately come to my mind include the prospectus, “Your Mind Our Matter”, Serenading, Vassar Devils, White Angels (Mrs. M and Mrs. Whalen were the best), the Noyes Bonfire, Primal Scream, the best single rooms in Strong, watching “Dynasty” and ordering Napoli’s Pizza on Friday Night (and it never took “half an hour”), parties in the ICC with the West Pointers, Trouble Funk at Sunset Lake, cookies and cream milkshakes from the Retreat, Daisy Chain, tea in Main, Ntozake Shange, Michael Manley, Jim Lehrer, Garry Trudeau, and Meryl Streep, the bus trip to Broadway to see “Dream Girls,” table cloths and steak in ACDC for Parent’s Weekend, the Mug Dance, Rocky Horror, going to the Harvard-Yale game and the Black Student Union after-party, basketball games at Marist, Biology labs, having to go to the library to use a computer, Students’ Afro-American Society meetings and the uprising caused by The Misc., the beautiful trees in the Quad, raising our voices against Apartheid and to “Free Mandela,” spending Junior Year at Spelman, forming friendships that have lasted a lifetime, and developing a mind strong enough to change the world!
by Paul Noonan, Class of 2010
I’ve learned a great deal of important and weighty things in my time at Vassar, but that’s to be expected. What I find far more interesting is the astounding number of absolutely trivial facts I’ve learned about life, myself, living in a community and Vassar. Here are some of my favorites:
Birds will always start singing at 4 a.m., no matter how much work you have left to do.
I can probably walk from the TAs to Main with my eyes closed, but I don’t want to test it. The TA bridge is indestructible…maybe.
Somebody should wash the dishes in the sink, but not me because I didn’t use any of them.
Cell phones are not allowed near Raymond Avenue when construction crews are dynamiting it.
Bacio’s is the most successful thing to ever occupy that spot on Collegeview. Staying “open until whenever” is a good business policy.
New England Building makes incredible noises between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m.
The golfers will insist on sharing their golf games with you at 9 a.m. on a Saturday by talking with each other very loudly outside your window.
Meteor showers are incredible.
Meteor showers are more incredible when you can hear dozens of your classmates sitting on the same golf course as you – but you can’t see a single one of them.
Somebody will always find a way to break the sound system at Matthew’s Mug.
The Mug used to have mirrored ceilings, nice decorations, and a sunken dance floor.
If you have an afternoon to kill after classes, going on a prospective-student tour of Vassar is a baffling, enjoyable experience.
The storm drain in the Aula parking lot will collapse and form a sinkhole every year. The TA stair platforms will collapse and form asphalt moats/ankle traps every year.
Preparing to throw a party is the quickest way to get your house clean.
Throwing a party is the quickest way for your toilet to end up in multiple pieces.
Bathroom graffiti in the Library can range from inspiring song lyrics to helpful conversations, but usually it’s just drawings of penises.
Totes, belig and cray were big in ’08.
When someone asks you for your ID number and says “999″ for you, you will never be able to remember the rest.
Hypermediation, globalized, neoliberal, heteronormative and most other words that will be featured in a thesis or essay title above the 100 level are not recognized by Microsoft Word.
It is possible to cite yourself in a paper: you wrote enough about the topic last semester.
Pulling an all-nighter with the rest of your class every other week is both an excellent and terrible bonding experience.
Disco fries are never the right choice (except when they are).
Moodle is an acronym for “Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment.”
Always send duplicate jobs to VPrint.
Always know the location of the nearest four VPrint stations from any point on campus, just in case.
The phrase “Cisco Systems Web Authentication Redirect” will be burned into your mind after one semester.
There are secret walking trails in the forest behind Sunset Lake.
The Farm Oversight Committee is a shadowy organization that only appears when you want to throw a rave on the Farm.
Chili Wednesday isn’t always on a Wednesday.
The Retreat used to serve alcohol. More recently, the Retreat also used to serve energy drinks.
There are hidden staircases in the Library. Try to find all seven!
For my fellow outgoing seniors, I hope this trivia brings back fond memories of some of the wonderful quirks of Vassar. For those still attending, learn these well and add your own. Use your spare time to find places on campus you never knew existed. Enjoy every square inch.
Paul Noonan ’10 was the president of Vassar Teknowledgy (VT) and a member of The Limit sketch comedy troupe.
by Nate Silver, Class of 2010
I came to Vassar planning to double-major in drama and political science, take the LSAT during my senior year, head to law school next fall and be a practicing attorney by the time I was 25. Along the way the poli-sci major fizzled to a passionless correlate (culminating in its complete dissolution courtesy of the Registrar’s office last week), I took no LSATS, applied to no law schools, and am graduating with a bachelor’s degree in drama with no real life plan other than financial instability and artistic uncertainty. And I couldn’t be happier.
Such is the beauty of my Vassar education. I have been taught that what’s most important is for me to be able to look into the mirror each morning-at my bald head, grizzly beard, and (very, very cute) dimples-and be proud of the choices I have made. I have been taught to value passion over wealth and, as difficult as it might be to cope with the thought that I will never own a penthouse in lower-Manhattan, I’ve been sure to befriend a few econ majors along the way.
At Vassar I’ve had the opportunity to try many things: student government, carnival rides, star-gazing, math classes, dancing, writing long papers, Jesus’s chili, to name several. I’ve realized that, though I like to do many things, there are only two things in the world that I love: food and theater. From winning the Big Sauce Challenge freshman year (and the odd combination of pride and embarrassment that came with seeing “Nate Silver Sauce” as a special in the Retreat), to chairing the Food Committee and helping the Aramark’s Chinese guest chefs make noodles my sophomore year, to writing a weekly food column for The Miscellany News and launching my very own catering company this fall, my College experience was fundamental in harnessing my passion for cooking.
Falling in love with theater was unexpected, or at least, the extent to which I have made it a part of my life is. I came to theater relatively late in life, not having been in a play until I was 16, and though finding a college with a great theater program was part of my college search, it was not the most important factor. Twelve plays later I must say that theater has defined my college experience. I was told I had limited space for this retrospective, so after contemplating how I could say all the things I want to say to the Vassar Drama Department in this column (my idea to write this whole thing in size 7.5 font didn’t fly), let me just say this: I have never worked harder, failed more miserably, been more proud or strived to be a better person more than I have under your guidance. I am grateful for every second I have spent in the Center for Drama and Film, and though I will miss Sunset Lake, the Library lawn and the outdoor amphitheater, it is on the floor of the drama building that my feet will have the hardest time getting used to not being.
Sentimentality aside, what Vassar has truly prepared me for is to begin a life beyond its walls. I have been given the tools I need, an unbreakable support structure if I fail, and a beautiful community of intellectuals to return to when I’m ready. Though the future remains delightfully uncertain, my Vassar education is my empowerment and, at least for now, when I look into the mirror each morning, I am proud of the man this college has made me.