Stories including squirrels

The Fine Details of a Vassar Experience

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.

Open Mind

As of this writing, I have just turned in my second thesis. Normally students are happy to turn in their senior project; I am ecstatic. Now I can actually grasp the fact that my time at Vassar is ending. People always say that college graduation is a major point in your life. I think they are correct. I have learned so much during my time at Vassar and I will be sorry to leave.

I remember opening my acceptance letter to Vassar and thinking, “That’s where Jackie Onassis went!” I was thrilled to go to a school with a big name, beautiful landscape and amazing traditions. For some reason, I thought Vassar would be the finishing school that it used to be. Was I wrong…

My first few weeks at Vassar sped by. A few key moments stand out: the first time I saw a squirrel take a muffin up a tree, my first Nilda’s, the first sip of chocolate milk at the All Campus Dining Center, the first time I got lost in the basement of the library…As I realized I was finally away from home for good, I remember thinking “Why am I here? I don’t fit in. This is not what I signed up for.” Conservative me was terrified by the stark openness everyone exhibited. As I walked to class in makeup and heels, everywhere I turned I saw crazy outfits, Birkenstocks and sweatpants. Vassar was a long way from home. I was worried that I would lose myself in an effort to be politically correct and to fit in.

Looking back, I feel like I do fit in. Everyone seems to fit in. What I know now that I didn’t then is that it doesn’t matter how different you are. Vassar didn’t change, but I feel at home. I changed, and I changed for the better. Yes, I will always consider myself conservative on Vassar’s campus, but my mind is open to new possibilities. Vassar has taught me to appreciate the differences in new things, people and places. I am still my old self with the same morals, manners and confidence, but I am an improved version. Had I chosen to attend another school, I really do not know if I would be the same person that I am today.

College is supposed to be the most fun time of your life. After the days of cramming for exams, doing projects and reading countless books, I can leave Vassar knowing that I have also gained amazing friendships. Four years away from home would have been horrible without my friends. I only wish that they could all come with me after graduation. I can honestly say that I have learned as much from them as I have from my academic work. Leaving them will be just as difficult as leaving Vassar itself.

So as I accept my diploma, I will be happy that I made it through these past four years and came out a better person. I will be forever grateful for all of the help I received from faculty members and friends. I will be a Vassar College grad. Finally.

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