On May 15th of this year (2021), I graduated from Grove City College with a B.A. in English. It was a bittersweet day. Not only was it the culmination of four years of effort, it was also the end of a treasured time in my life. I made so many friends at college who I will always appreciate.
The day of my graduation I had a headache from lack of coffee and allergies. My new dress shoes literally wore holes in two of my toes. The ceremony itself was boring, and the time afterwards was a rush of taking pictures and moving out. When I think back on my time at Grove City College, there are many moments I will always love to think about, but graduation itself will not be one of them. That being said, I am grateful that I made it to graduation despite setbacks due to the pandemic.
I found it kind of funny that we were told due to concerns about COVID-19 and people’s squeamishness, instead of a handshake the president would give us a hug and fist bump. First of all, how is that better from a contagiousness standpoint? Also, sorry, but a fist bump could never be formal enough for a graduation ceremony.
I was nervous when I finally walked across the stage to receive my diploma. I was told to flip my tassel to the other side of my cap before or after reaching the president. Because I’m me, I flipped my tassel the second I reached the president, no doubt right when the photographer snapped the picture.
With my graduation behind me, I can’t help reminiscing about some of the funny moments of being an undergraduate. I decided to share some of my favorite stories below.
The Perfect Horror Movie
One night near midnight during my freshman year my roommate and I were walking back to our dorm. Now, Grove City College is a very safe campus. But we got to talking about what we would do if we were attacked. Since I had dabbled in martial arts for years, I suggested I would use my lanyard with the keys at the end of it to strike at the attacker’s face.
We discussed different methods of self-defense, and then the topic changed to horror movies. We were going to walk in the dark area between the chapel and the dorms and we mentioned how it would have been the perfect scenario for a horror movie–us walking through the on-campus equivalent of a dark alley.
When we reached the poorly lit spot between the chapel and dorms, to our utter surprise a robed figure with a black hood emerged out of the darkness. He looked like the freakin’ grim reaper. We were speechless. Then I began to laugh. I laughed uncontrollably and didn’t stop until several minutes after we were safely in our dorm.
I learned later that there was a guy who liked to go around campus dressed in that fashion, completely in black with a robe and hood. Another time I saw him during the day, when it was a lot less intimidating.
Looking back, I am surprised I wasn’t more scared about seeing a grim reaper look-alike. I guess the situational irony was just too perfect.
Room Draw, when students at GCC chose their rooms for next semester, became the most despised time of the year for me. Besides finals of course. Two times I nearly ended up in tears at Room Draw and the third time was the best because I was absent.
The first time we tried to get nice rooms and accidentally ended up in the “mole hole.” On the website it was listed as a room on the ground floor. It was not on the ground floor. It was below the ground, a small room with no windows. We were thinking it would be a big room and had never even realized there were dorms without windows in the basement. There was a single bathroom with only one stall for the whole hall and pipes coming out of the hall ceiling.
Anyway, I called my mom and started laughing so hard about it that I was tearing up. My mom advised me to go back and ask for a different room, which I did when I had finally quit cracking up. We ended up in a decent room with windows. And as my roommate said, it had “beautiful bathrooms.”
The second time I had an all-nighter the day before, when I was working on a unit plan. I knew I had another long night ahead. The unit plan was made up of 9 lesson plans, each of which took 4-5 hours.
My roommate and two friends were counting on me to pick out rooms for all of us. None of them were available to go to Room Draw, but they wanted a suite. We were sure that we would get a suite since the year before even sophomores had been able to get suites.
We each had a number that would determine our order to pick a room. We went with the lowest out of our numbers which we were allowed to do since we were planning on being suitemates.
Long story short, all the suites were taken long before they reached my number. And when they finally reached that number, I found out I needed to get the lowest number from my two friends too. In other words, it was a mess and I was so tired and I had to get the number and then get back in line and pick random rooms for my friends.
I was so worried about what my friends would think. Because at that time, I barely knew them. They would not really be “my friends” until later. I only knew my roommate well, not the other two girls I wanted to have a suite with.
By the time I got to choose the second room, I felt like I was going to cry. The lady I told my choice to seemed to notice, and I blamed it on the all-nighter, which was no doubt partially to blame.
I ended up having another all-nighter that night.
In short, I associate Room Draw with bad memories.
I had a good relationship with sororities and fraternities most of the time at college. Being an introvert who hates crowds and loud noises, I avoided them like the plague. They didn’t know I existed. Perfect.
Pledge week was like a thing out of my nightmares.
My friend and I learned quickly that we couldn’t be anywhere near the cafeteria during Greek dinners. Every time a new girl would come in, a sorority would say in monotone robotic voices, “Hello Miss Abigail…Hello Miss….”
There would be people in full mountain gear latching themselves to the stair rail and crawling up and down the stairs. Meanwhile, I am just trying to get root beer without making eye contact.
I did enjoy listening to the guys put on an impromptu play in the middle of the cafeteria, but that had to be the one greek-life-related experience that I somewhat appreciated.
All the other stuff involving people miserably wearing wrinkled, rotting carrots and carrying around skulls kinda made me uncomfortable.
One encounter with a fraternity during pledge week was the most memorable. My roommate and I were headed to Hicks cafeteria when we saw a line of men in masks and robes holding flowers. (This was before Covid-19 made masks all the rage.) We both sped up, but she was faster and made it through the door. I was not so lucky.
“May I escort you to the cafeteria?” one of the masked men asked.
I froze. My face was burning, and I sputtered out “Sure…” Why? Why did I say that?
He hooked his arm through mine and led me to the cafeteria. My roommate held the door open for us, grinning. I glared at her. The guy gave me a plastic flower. I almost threw it away when he left but ended up keeping it for a few weeks. I found it funny that it was the first gift a guy outside my family had ever given me.
I toured Grove City College the first time with my roommate and her family. The second time I brought my family along, but we got separated and they ended up going on the tour without me–they told me about their experience later. Right when the tour guide finished talking about what a safe campus it was, a bunch of college guys walked past chanting “wolf creek” and pitched someone into the creek. The timing made it hilarious. My family didn’t know this at the time, but it is a tradition at Grove City College to “creek” a man after he gets engaged.
Sour Patch Kids
I bought my roommate a massive bag of Sour Patch Kids for her birthday because I know she loves them. She graciously shared them with me. We made a game out of eating them. Since we both hate orange, we would reach in without looking and have to eat whatever we picked up. We both laughed when one of us got orange and had to eat it. I guess it was good we ate them. Otherwise we would have thrown all those orange ones away!
I hope you enjoyed hearing about my college experience. Let me know your college or school stories in the comments! P.S. I have another post coming about my college experiences, which I will call The Colby Chronicles.