Things I Did: Graduate College

The past fortnight – the past month – has been so crazy I don’t even know where to start. Do I go back to the beginning of spring semester when I thought I had all the time in the world? Or maybe midterms when I started to freak out about my grades and finding a job and an apartment? Or maybe that gap where I worried no one would want to live with me? What about that short period I thought I would leave DC, all of my friends, and take a year-long fellowship in Detroit?

See? So much has happened.

The last month alone has been the most action-packed of my life and I’m not even being hyperbolic! But the thing that I find most strange about it all is that I wasn’t even all that stressed. I really think the saving grace here was that I honestly just didn’t have time to feel stressed. I knew I would be able to pass all my classes. Amanda graciously agreed to be my roommate. We only looked at three apartments before we found one that we could agree on. I applied to a job, was qualified for it, did well in the interview and was hired.

I just… May was insane. I worked part-time during finals. I moved out of my dorm and into my very first apartment. I rented a car, went to Ikea for the first time, bought a bed and a mattress, and transported them to my new home. I went to 9 of the 10 Daze parties. I introduced my brother to my friends, went to two graduation ceremonies – on of which was ON THE NATIONAL MALL.

But it was all over so quickly. Do you know how quickly ten days of parties pass you by? Very quickly. Especially when you spend a significant portion of your day sleeping/moving/trying to figure out what you can wear that will fit that night’s theme. It’s exhausting. In a really good way.

So on top of all the parties and the hectic moving the graduation thing actually happened. Despite some reservations, Kerry Washington was actually a kick-ass commencement speaker (and a fellow GW alum).

And then, because I am a dumb-dumb, I started work at my full-time job the day after commencement. The day after. At 8:30 am. I have to COMMUTE now. That’s so weird. I moved to Virginia and ended up getting a job basically on campus of my alma mater. So weird (not the late-90s Disney show). But I live four metro stops away so I really can’t complain. Like, at all.

So now I have a job. That I’m good at. In a law firm (in the library, but still). It’s weird. And kind of easy. And has absolutely no relation to that shiny new degree I just earned next door. But I get paid! When they decide to pay me on time I can afford my rent and food and clothes for said job and, I don’t care what you say, yes, I am going to put a hammock in my apartment because that’s just not really an acceptable piece of furniture outside of your early 20’s, so…

I’m happy, I think. It’s been awhile since I felt this way. No homework, no stress. Time to read books again, and watch tv, and just lounge about talking about dumb shit with my roommate and our friends. I joined the firm’s softball team. I play slow-pitch softball on the ellipse of the White House. Our game last night got paused because the Secret Service made us clear out. My apartment complex has a pool so I just bought a new bathing suit. Things are looking up.

So I guess my only question is, what’s next?

Normal: What even is that?

I don’t think I’ll ever have the “quintessential college experience” whatever that may be. It just won’t happen. I’ve had the startling realization and have come to terms with it. It’s fine. Kind of. Sort of. Maybe?

I’m into my third year of college. I am now a junior in college. What even is that? When did this happen? Who decided I was old enough / mature enough / smart enough to get this far? I want to go back to elementary school with its coloring, its book reports, its multiplication tables. Instead I have to endure digital media projects, analytical essays, and statistics. Not fair.

But I have noticed, of late, that my college experience isn’t on par with those of most of my friends from home. Is it because I went out of state? I went to a private school? I’m on an urban campus? I didn’t rush? I don’t know if I’ll ever be certain, but I know some of what I’m missing.

I’ll never go to a college football game because my school doesn’t have a football team. I won’t get to tailgate outside our stadium, because we don’t have a stadium, let alone cars. I’ll never get to enjoy porch drinking, because there are no houses on campus, excluding the tiny town-houses that have no porches – just stoops. I’ll never attend, at least as an undergrad, a university with a male population of which the majority are heterosexual. (Yes, I’m including my study abroad university in that. That’s one thing they don’t advertise that in the guidebooks, let me tell you.)

But it’s more than that. It’s also the fact that I didn’t get to drink PBR or play beer pong until I was hanging out with my brother over summer vacation. Whether that’s because there doesn’t seem to be room for beer pong at school or kids tend to drink liquor, I can’t be certain. I never shotgunned a beer until hanging out with my summer coworkers because, on the off chance we have beer at school, it sure as hell doesn’t come from a can.

What else am I missing out on? Is it because of where I go, or because of who I am and whom I chose to hang out with? If you have any insights, send ’em my way.

Not that I don’t enjoy my college experience; I do. For the most part. GW has its positives: the DC location, dorms down the street from the White House, school-year internships on the Hill, awesome authors and press secretaries and politicians that speak on campus. It can be wonderful, of course, it just doesn’t strike me as conventional, typical, or dare I say it, normal. Maybe when I get back to GW I’ll found a beer-pong league and sponsored flip-cup tournaments? At the very least I’ll take a road trip to Athens, Ohio to enjoy the Spring festivals. I’ll take normalcy, whatever that may be, wherever I can get it.

Of the White House Correspondents Dinner, circa 2011

I think it’s a bit of an understatement, but I’m just going to put it out there. Last weekend was pretty eventful. Seriously, jam-packed. Friday was “bandquet” at the Prime Rib. It was as fun as it was delicious. Sunday night the world at large received the news that Osama bin Laden had been shot and killed in a mansion outside of Islamabad, Pakistan. And then there was Saturday…

I think there should be an actual holiday declared for the last Saturday of April, because it was wonderful and magical and exhilarating. While I’m not actually one for celebrity gossip, I had an amazing time running around DC. Because, governmental or religious recognition or not, Saturday was a holiday and the best one of them all: the day of the White House Correspondent’s Dinner.

The day began with Amanda and I running (figuratively) from campus to the White House all the way to Georgetown to see if we could spot Matthew Morrison with his bff Chace Crawford. Amanda is a little bit in love with Matt Morrison. And, though we scoured the city for the two gorgeous fellows for a good part of the afternoon, we did not find them. But not for lack of trying.

In the evening, Rachel, Amanda and I started walking towards Dupont Circle so that we could hang out at the Washington Hilton, for that’s where the dinner is held.  A surprising number of attendees don’t get dropped off in front of the hotel, but actually just walk up Connecticut Avenue, in gowns and tuxes alike.

The event was exciting for me because for one I was included. I got to spend a wonderful evening with Rachel and Amanda. Also… I’ve never really seen famous people before in real life (discounting politicians, just because.) In the end, this is a list of those stars we saw that I was able to identify. Just for kick’s I’ll compile subgroups:

  • Political – George Stephanopolous’ hair, Bristol Palin, Newt Gingrich, Donald Trump, Colin Powell, Madeline Albright, Bill O’Reilly
  • SNL – Andy Samberg, Bill Heder, Jason Sudeikis, Amy Poehler & Fred Armisen
  • The Hangover – Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifinakis, the groom
  • Other: Chris Colfer, Nina Dobrev & Ian Somerhalder, Omar Epps, Jeremy Piven, Mila Kunis, Jon Hamm, Chelsea Handler, Selma Hayek, Alisa Milano, Michelle Trachtenberg, Rashida Jones, Kenneth the Page, Paula Abdul, Rosario Dawson, and Ryan Kwanten

The most frustrating part of the evening probably came from having to wait for the President’s motorcade. No one can enter the building and the entrances have to be cleared. This happened not only when he arrived, but when he left as well. And, sure, it’s cool to see the President, but we really only end up staring at his motorcade, willing it to just move already. Regardless, it was a fun night. We’ve got big plans for next year and even grander for 2013.

For your entertainment:

That Girl Looks Like Trash

There are a lot of things I love about GW. There’s also a lot of stuff that GW people like. But sometimes I just don’t get it. I understand that fashion is (kind of) important. You get judged by what you wear. You don’t want to look like a slob. But GW fashion is ridiculous. Everyone seems to wear a variation on the same thing. Especially the girls (pea coat, leggings, Uggs, non-t-shirt shirt, Blackberry, Starbucks).

For a group as uniform in appearance as we are, GW’s a bit judgey about fashion. Which, GW students must be the epitome of class if they’re too good for pants, right? I wouldn’t know, not owning a pair of leggings. Shocker, I know.

But, for as politically active and socially aware as GW students can be (especially PoliComm majors, just sayin’), they are still ridiculous and judgey about clothing and fashion. Case in point. I just… They turned a wonderful and insightful political event of former White House press secretaries into an opportunity to critique professional fashion. Guys… really? I’ve seen girls strutting around thinking this is an okay look. Pick on her!

I’m just saying – it’s kind of preposterous for a 20 year old to pick apart the clothing choices of an adult when said adult is, roughly, 1000% more successful than you. They worked in the freakin’ White House. They corralled unruly journalists (and presidents alike, I’m sure). They were the source of information and poise when talking about the whole Monica Lewinsky thing, 9/11, the beginning of the Iraq War and much, much more. They probably have more things to worry about than what GW students (and C-SPAN viewers) think of their clothes. Most of them run communications firms and… I’m just exasperated.

The event was fantastic, though. I really learned a lot about what the actual job of the press secretary is. Because, as much as I love Aaron Sorkin, Allison Janney, and the West Wing, it was nice to hear a real-world perspective. They spoke candidly about their time in the White House during international crises. They spoke about delivering a message without being the one that crafts the content. They spoke about having to rely on themselves and their gut instincts, all while knowing when to ask questions and become a journalist themselves. And, despite what Ari Fleischer said, they kind of are rock stars. Especially at GW.

Hate; I really don’t like you.

The other day, Gawker ran this article about actresses we really hate. Everyone has a few. For me, it’s Miley Cyrus, Megan Fox, and Kristen Stewart. I know that my mom hates Renee Zelwegger and Nicole Kidman.

I realized the other night that I really, really want to hate Rashida Jones. She’s never personally wronged me or anything, she just… I don’t really know. She was a stuck-up bitch in Freaks & Geeks (which I’m just now watching for the first time), and has dated a significant portion of famous people that I’ve had crushes on (here’s looking at you John Krasinski and Jon Favreau). It also didn’t help that more often than not I hated her character on The Office. (She tried to step between Jam! Not okay!)

But I can’t hate her. I love her too much. I really just loved her in I Love You, Man. That was such a great little movie to me. Jason Segel, Paul Rudd, Juno’s dad, Andy Samberg. And Jones’ Zoey was just fantastic. I really believed her relationship with Paul Rudd’s character. It was just really nice and adorable. Not gonna lie, I’m a little jealous. Also, she was in The Social Network. I really can’t seem to hate anyone if they do a good job on an Aaron Sorkin project.

I’m Old School Like That

One of the wonderful things about college (academically, at least) are the speakers that come to campus. Recently, GW’s School of Media and Public Affairs procured three new fellows. I just returned to the dorm after seeing our dean, Frank Sesno, hold a discussion with Joe Lockhart. Lockhart is a professional political operative:  he helped found a Washington-based strategic communications firm, has worked on numerous national campaigns and was a press secretary under Clinton. He was witty and interesting and a great source for information about how technology is changing the way that reporters and the public experience news.

According to Sesno and Lockhart, the gatekeepers and grey-beards of old are having trouble filtering what stories will and will not meet public consumption. While at one time (more or less during the Clinton admin) there was an understanding in the press that a story would only go to print if it could be corroborated, that’s not so much the case anymore. We’re now living in a time where people can upload news stories from anywhere at anytime. It’s the 24-hour news cycle.

And it sucks.

Don’t get me wrong, I love how easily I can access information using the internet and I often don’t have the patience to sit down and read the newspaper, and aggregators can be a great way to bundle news that I’ll think is interesting, but it’s not necessarily a good thing. All of this technology, the aggregators for instance, limit my scope of knowledge. Instead of sifting through all of the information a news site puts out, I can read only what I want to know about. That leaves a bit of blank space in which I am entirely uninformed. If that were the case, I would rarely know what was going on in the business world or certain parts of the world.

There’s also something to be said for the instant gratification of it all. We, the young generation who have grown up with iPods and laptops and cell phones are used to everything being accesible at the tips of our fingers. We don’t know how to take a step back. We’re always moving, always looking for new ways to be entertained. We expect to know everything as soon as it happens. But that immediacy isn’t always effective, especially in the age where anyone can publish anything from anywhere. If everyone keeps moving at warp-speed, I feel like something is going to be left behind. Maybe it will be the truth.

It feels almost like information is too easy to come by. When we can easily limit what information gets fed to us, it becomes easier to be apathetic to the types of stories that perhaps don’t interest us, even if they are important. Maybe I’ve romanticized it a little bit in my head, but I want news stories to be accurate and compelling, full of information that is important. I don’t need to know of every affair that’s happened between a senator and whomever or which representative is gay. I want to know when bills are going to be passed and when policy changes happen. Sometimes it just feels like the media is focused on telling the public stories that they feel we, as consumers, are interested in, instead of telling us boring stories, full of minutia, that can impact our lives. Because, really, I don’t care what Kate Gosselin’s doing.

That wasn’t flying, that was falling with style!

My mother assured me when I got home from work tonight that I’d be rich by the time I was twenty. Seeing as how that’s only seven months away, I don’t think that’ll be the case. Twenty-five, maybe. See, it’s just that right now, I’m work’s bitch [and while mom assures me that the grammar there is not correct, the apostrophe is, because “you are the bitch in work’s possession”]. Seriously, I’m putting in 40 hour weeks stretched over six days. Four days a week, I am Molly, concession stand attendant to BVFAC patrons. Two days a week, I am Molly, congressional intern. It’s exhausting, I tell you. And sometimes, downright depressing (especially considering the fact that I only get paid for 24 hours of my work week).

Sometimes, I have to admit, feelings of inadequacy can sneak up – especially when I read news stories about kids climbing Mt. Everest and creating philanthropic organizations. But, though I haven’t done anything profound or really noteworthy, I have big plans. One of those, aside from being co-owner of Spines & Crusts (obviously), is being a White House speechwriter. And, man, if I play my cards right, look at what I could be making: www.whitehouse.gov

What will I do with all the money I intend to amass over the next few decades? Well, get a couple of residences. You know, DC townhouse, manor house in England, and a fishing cabin in either Alabama or Minnesota (I’ve got time to decide, but dad’s pulling for Alabama). But, maybe my real estate purchases will result in something a little more large-scale. Here’s what I’m talking about: an entire freaking village! And yes, you did read that right. I. Can’t. Wait.