Life

The Colby Chronicles

Intro

This is part 2 of my college stories. Part 2 is all about one guy that I met at college, who I will call Colby, and all the awkward interactions I had with him. Just so you know, I decided to use fake names for everyone involved. Hopefully these stories are as entertaining for you as they are for me in retrospect.

The Motorcycle Story

I met Colby by accident, when I walked into my first ever class at college. I wasn’t sure if I was in the right room. It turns out he was just leaving at the end of a different class, so when I asked him if this was the right room for my class he didn’t know. Boring interaction. It should have ended there.

But I met him again, in the cafeteria, where he suggested I was stalking him because he saw me everywhere. Not the best way to start a conversation. We exchanged names and chatted briefly before parting ways again. So far so good, relatively commonplace conversation that was going nowhere.

The third time I met Colby was a different story. I was sitting alone at MAP cafeteria and he asked if he could join me. I said sure, why not. I’m shy but I don’t mind unexpected company. And what could go wrong? I didn’t know at the time this guy was a creep.

We engaged in small talk about classes and our differing religious denominations. (At my college, religious topics could end up being heated discussions, especially in this case since he was Protestant and I was Catholic, but we were both pretty chill.) Then he started talking about his motorcycle.

Now, I don’t care much about vehicles, so I was far from impressed that this guy had a pretty motorcycle. Meh.

Then he asked me if I wanted a ride on his motorcycle, and I said no, because I knew almost nothing about this guy and wouldn’t have wanted a motorcycle ride even if he was my best friend.

He continued to suggest we go on a motorcycle ride. He explained that he had once had a friend who was very shy like me, and that she had ridden his motorcycle and loved it. I declined again and again with decreasing politeness until he gave up.

After dinner, I had to go to Rathburn for a meeting, and he asked to escort me. He had no idea where Rathburn was, and I had a sense of humor, so I said sure. Unbenownst to him, Rathburn was the building right beside the cafeteria where we were, so all we did was walk outside and I was there.

The motorcycle nonsense didn’t end there. It turns out my mom knew a friend of his mom. They got to talking, and my mom found out that Colby doesn’t even have a motorcycle. I was more wary of him after that. I don’t know what he would have done if I said yes, and I don’t like to think of what could’ve happened. All I can say is, I’m glad I trusted my instincts.

The Cafeteria Story

Colby had a habit of asking to eat with me and my roommate Afina any time he saw us in the cafeteria. We attempted to avoid him after the whole motorcycle fiasco but were rarely successful.

Colby always wore this leather jacket, and one day he used it to smuggle food out of the cafeteria for his sick roommate. (This was before the pandemic, before there was takeout as an option.) He had asked to eat with us, and told us about what he had done. He had hidden napkins full of onion rings in his jacket, and for condiments had sucked ketchup up straws and bent the tops and hid those in his jacket too.

During the same lunch, he berated Afina for having an unhealthy salad. It was a salad that had hamburger in it, but she just shrugged and said she hadn’t meant for it to be healthy.

The Seduction Story

This one is Afina’s Colby story. She was in the cafeteria, and Colby sidled up to her and asked her if her hair was naturally curly. She explained that it was, especially if she had braided it beforehand.

Colby proceeded to ask her where she lived, and she said MEP. She politely asked where he lived and he listed off one of the men’s dorms and asked if she had ever been there. When she said no, he was astonished.

“What, are you saying you never go there to seduce the men?”

Needless to say, Afina tried to end that conversation quickly.

The Ice Cream Story

One time Colby asked my roommate Afina if he and his three friends could join us in our booth. We were in the line for icecream, and Afina just shrugged and said “Paige is the boss.”

Colby came up to me, and asked again. Now these booths are meant for four people max, and him and his friends plus us would be six people. There was no way I was going to let that happen.

Without looking up from scooping my ice cream, I said no firmly and ignored him until he walked away.

The Notoriety Story

One time I was eating with a group of four girls I did not know well. We got to talking about our strange experiences with a certain guy on campus. Twenty minutes into the conversation we realized we were all talking about the same guy–Colby, and that we all had experienced his flirting and strange behavior. It was certainly a revelation and we got a good laugh out of it. The girls all decided I was his favorite because he didn’t argue much with me. Lucky me.

Conclusion

Those are some of the most memorable moments I’ve had at Grove City College, even if they are not great memories. Whether Colby was holding the door open for thirty people or trying to hack the scheduling system for courses, he always made an impression. After sophomore year I never saw him again, so I assumed he transferred or quit. I’ll never know what happened, but I don’t mind.

Feel free to share your college stories in the comments!

Life

Stories From My College Years

Intro

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.

Rooming Situation

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.

Pledge Week

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.

The Creeking

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!

Conclusion

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.

Life

5 Reasons to Love Masks

I hear people complaining about masks all of the time. I know people who blatantly refuse to wear them correctly, and others who will wear them the right way but can’t help but point out how much of a nuisance they are.

Unpopular opinion: I don’t mind them. In fact, I even like them sometimes.

Here are five reasons why people shouldn’t be hating on masks:

1. They keep your face warm

Okay, I don’t know if you live in a place where winter is nasty, but where I live, the cold weather was prolonged and not very fun.

I don’t like winter. The snow is pretty to look at, but trekking to classes every day through it was less than desirable.

I have to say, having a mask to cover my face this year was a blessing. And since it is basically normal now, I don’t stand out at all for using mine as a face warmer.

2. They give an excuse for not recognizing people

I actually am terrible at recognizing faces. I notice things like hair length and hair color, but I forget what people’s faces look like. With the current Covid situation, I can now just blame it on the mask. That makes it a little less awkward.

But even if you are good at recognizing faces, you can use the mask as an excuse for not talking to people you want to avoid. If they confront you for ignoring them, blame it on the mask.

“Oh sorry–didn’t see you there. You know how masks are…”

3. They hide your expression

People do dumb things sometimes. And when they do, your trusty mask can hide your silent laughter. It can conceal those involuntary frowns, the mounting frustration, an evil grin. I can’t tell you how much my mask has saved me from offending people by hiding my expressions.

The only problem is, once wearing masks is no longer a necessity, it’ll be hard to break the habit of being too expressive. By now, I’m used to the mask and no longer try to hold back the occasional smile, grimace, or smirk. Oh well–I’ll worry about that when this whole Covid crisis is over.

4. They conceal acne

Sure, they cause it too (heard of maskne?), but they do hide the entire lower half of one’s face. That’s 50% acne coverage there.

5. They are another way to express your personality

People have always used clothes to flaunt their personalities. But now, fashionable masks are the new craze. Whether broadcasting one’s love of My Hero Academia or one’s obsession with kittens, the masks one wears say a lot about a person. They can show whether one is artsy, minimalistic, creative, or playful.

There are loads of masks that are just plain funny.

Conclusion

Next time you wear a mask, look on the bright side. There are reasons, even besides the obvious health benefits, for wearing a mask. We’re all in the same boat here, and I’m sure this will all blow over eventually. Stay healthy!

Life

My Photography Portfolio from Fall 2020

Until last semester, I hated cameras. I called myself photo-phobic, or at best photo-resistant. I took a selfie once because I had to for a class and it was the worst thing. Basically, I despise pictures on myself, which is probably why I have had the same pic on my social media for basically forever.

As for taking pictures of other people or things, I pretty much only did that if I was asked to or if I needed a reference for a drawing.

Then my mom helped me pick my schedule for last fall by suggesting Digital Photography as an elective. She also suggested Latin, which made all the other classes I had ever taken look easy by comparison, but let’s not go into that.

Anyway, I took this photography course and really enjoyed it. For this post, I will be sharing my best photos from last semester. If you’re wondering what took me so long to post them, it’s because I was waiting to ask permission to post my favorite pic of the lot.

It’s a picture of a close friend of mine. I liked the contrast of dark and light in this picture, the brightness of the window compared to the shadowy curve of the curtain. She also picked the perfect outfit with the stripes and hat. She was the perfect model the whole time even though I took over fifty pictures of her.

There was a whole project based on taking pictures in and around the college chapel. I liked this one because the solid-colored light blue sky emphasizes the height of the chapel and the purity and lofty ideals that went into forming the chapel.

My professor also taught us to use Photoshop to touch things up a little, so I used the settings in Photoshop to darken this photo, putting the focus on the light reflecting off the cross. This is the sort of picture that would be great paired with a quote in the darkest area, but I have yet to decide on one.

The final project was chronicling the seasons of Summer, Fall, and Winter using pictures. I’ll share my favorites from each season.

Summer

I liked the green of the newly growing grass near the end of the summer on campus. The area had been ripped up for maintenance to some pipes, and then a layer of fertilizer had been slapped on top. Before long, these beautiful blades of grass started pushing through. I must’ve looked weird lying on the ground taking pictures of dirt and grass, but I don’t mind.

The first pictures I took of the roses on campus were too crowded with so many blooming flowers. As a result, I decided to take a picture of a single rose against the summer sky. Much better.

Fall

I took this pic by setting my camera in a pile of acorns I found along a trail. I loved how it focused on one acorn that follows the rule of thirds, a rule that basically states not to completely center the focus of your picture and instead put the focus where lines interest in a grid of 9 x 9 squares.

I loved the way this photo turned out looking like something from Monet, like some sort of impressionist painting. The only editing I did to this one was to crop it. I generally took a minimalist approach to Photoshop.

Winter

Overall, I don’t like my winter photos as much. But I liked the contrast of white on red with this first snow of Winter 2020.

The picture of this tree reaching for the winter sky was another one of my favorites for that reason.

Final Thoughts

I am definitely an amateur photographer, but taking a class enhanced my previously nonexistent skill. I would definitely recommend a photography class for anyone who wants to improve their picture-taking capabilities, or even just take their selfie skills to the next level.