Posts in: Student Curator
I sometimes wonder if I’m the right student to have blogging as the student curator. The term has connotations. Connotations that I’m actively involved with campus life, that I’m someone always around, a student other students know. Connotations that there isn’t an event I’m not aware of, and that I’m relentlessly enthusiastic and never shy away.
Or maybe those are just the connotations “student curator” has for me.
Because, truly, while I am a Colorado College student, while I’m passionate and involved as much as my rather-exhausted body allows, the truth is, I rather read in bed or scribble in a notebook on a Friday night than venture over to Wahsatch or Weber.
On the Facebook CC Confessions page, a term has recently been coined: The Phantom 500, referring to the introverts on campus, the students that the others–the presumably normal students–never see because phantoms don’t go to events or parties or eat in Rastall. We are ghosts, floating the quads, randomly appearing in classes, or in the line at the Preserve, a mirage of students who exist somehow unseen and unacknowledged.
What a silly term, right? Talk about connotations of insignificance.
But again, maybe I’m jaded, as, despite my impacted schedule, all the incredible people I adore between Cache La Poudre and Uintah, and my seemingly endless campus wide obligations, I’m rather certain I’m one of the Phantom 500. And, you know, I wouldn’t change a thing. I may not be the most well known, most involved student on campus, but I feel nonetheless connected. Infinitely blessed. Still a member of this bizarree, fabulous community–even if I don’t have over a thousand friends on Facebook or go to the loudest house parties on the weekend. CC is still absolutely woven into who I am today.
I went to the senior dance theses performances last week. In the dark of the theatre, I was able to smile with hot wet eyes without explanation. I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t stop grinning. And then I went to the advanced fiction reading three nights back, where I had to veil my face with my hair as I cried off and on, unable stop the warm sparks flicking down my spine. (Though, for the record, I’m an easy crier.) I don’t know why I so often feel the way I do, why I feel so much light on my skin when walking across Armstrong Quad, why I want to embrace CC students I don’t even know… but maybe it’s because we’re all threaded, we’re all connected, even us phantoms, we’re intricately a family in the most beautiful, absurd kind of way.
Does that make sense? Surely I’m not alone with these emotions. Maybe I’m just dramatic. You can call me dramatic. I promise I won’t be hurt. These feelings are just too intense, too real, not to share.
Before I was officially a CC student, back when I just a high school drop out taking summer courses as a “visiting student” in Summer 2011, I felt what I felt now as I walked home from a friend’s house on Wahsatch (a friend who graduated that same year). I felt the warmth, the spark, this insistent feeling I needed to come to CC, that I was meant to be here. And so, I wrote that night, wrote of my walk home and the overload of emotions.
My feelings then are still relevant today. If not more relevant, even as one of the Phantom 500, if such a group truly exists. Fair warning, in the summer of 2011–as I always have been and always will be–I was often incredibly cheesy.
A man sticks his head out of his van and says, “You doing okay?”
He passes me on Cache La Poudre and makes a U-Turn on Cascade due to my meandering walk being too slow, too content with the midnight mosquito parade, too at peace to be bothered to pick up the speed for safety’s sake. He passes me a third time, but now only observes. Simply lets his headlights flash on the green of my pants. Simply lets me continue on my wine heavy way.
Am I doing okay? Am I doing okay, Mr. CC Security Guard Who Hopes That I Will Be Accepted As a Full Time Student in January Because This Place Is Lovely Despite the Roaming City Kooks And I Am So Obviously Happy Here At CC?
“This is my home,” I will tell him later. “My home.”
Dear Andy, can’t you see? Can’t you see the gleam? Am I not floating down this entirely vacant street totally at ease? For the last six years I’ve tumbled from place to place in pursuit of an answer for what I should do, where I should be. Berkeley, Aix, Granada, Colorado Springs, Chipita Park, Umbria, Kinsale, Arcata, Orange County again and again and again, only to return to the most obvious yet seemingly unattainable place, Colorado College in Colorado Springs—this small intoxicating college where I once finally slept during 2010’s humid summer afternoons when insomnia made the nights resemble something numb and cruel, but here at CC, last year, 2010, dizzy on the grass of Armstrong Quad wishing that the quad was my place to be, a place to call mine, to call home, I finally found sleep.
And now, eleven months later, in a sense my wish has come true, as CC is finally my place to legitimately be. I can finally sleep on the quad legally with a student (visitor status aside) Gold Card and Student ID.
For the last six years, since bowing farewell to high school, I’ve stretched and yanked and screamed in pursuit of direction. Where? Where? Where? Nowhere fit. Contentment was a fantasy. Nothing beyond my word dribbles and Pikes Peak offered stability. No where stuck my swollen pieces together with the necessary bundle of mountains and academia and writing and companions and so I searched and searched and searched. But now I am finally here. Now it appears that I have found my glue.
I cross through Armstrong’s parking lot and walk across the quad. Mr. Security Guard now watches from his car on Cascade. I’m smiling, grateful for his protection, but also grateful that he hasn’t abducted me into his safe proximity, even as I cross the street and skip right in front of him, for the night is kind to me—the sagging shadowed cottonwoods, the warm muddy grass, Shove Chapel watching my back, and the row of orbs leading up to Cutler Hall. I question bowing down to Cutler’s front doors. Let me in, I’d whisper while kissing its stairs, let me in. I restrain myself, as I worry that my kneeling would alarm the still-watching CC Security Guard. And to be pulled away from the summer sky’s shine would be a tragedy.
The stars are what keep me aligned, watching me, giving me light to see campus, giving me words to think so I can express my gratitude, the words like drops of candle wax that slowly fill my ear reminding me to listen, always to listen, listen to what is unable to necessarily be heard, listen to the tsunami spinning within.
My mantra: I am here. I am here. I am here.
I approach Antero and Mr. CC Security Guard pulls up beside me in the roundabout.
“You doing okay, dear?”
“This is my home,” I say. “I am here.”
Obviously, lack of whispers aside, the powers that be accepted me as a CC transfer student the following December, despite my nineteen-year-old dramatic tendencies. And nearly two years later, I feel the same. Nearly two years later, I wouldn’t take back a day. Even the days that follow a mere 30 minutes of sleep. Even the days when I want to curl up on my hardwood floor and cry for a minute or three. Even on the hardest of days, I am blessed to be here. I only have a year and a month left at CC before I graduate, and success and opportunities and friendships aside, I will be most grateful for the blessing of always having the freedom to call Colorado College a home, a home that gave me the means to change my life.
So if you believe in the Phantom 500, know that some of us ghosts are no less entranced, no less woven into this tapestry of fabulous chaos that is life at Colorado College.
And speaking of summer… Summer on campus is an INCREDIBLE and MAGICAL thing. Take summer courses. Just do it. They are small and intimate and often outside and something like half cost and just simply wonderful. I for one will be here for all three blocks.
- Cuddle with your dog. Wonder how you’ll ever leave your dog again.
- Be shocked by the humidity and warmth of your homeland. 85 degrees? Ocean breeze? Miss your dry, cold bipolar Colorado but secretly also twirl as moisture returns to your parched winter skin.
- See old friends. Hug old friends. Get sushi with old friends. Say goodbye again to old friends.
- Spend time with your family. Go in the hot tub with your family. Make dinner for your family. Try not to be irritated with your family. Relax, you’re with your family.
- Suddenly realize it’s March of your junior year. Freak out. Waste hours researching graduate programs (for the 55th time) and make lists and attempt to study for the GRE but ultimately end up on the living room floor staring at your dog because it’s spring break and the semester has been a tad intense and you just need to chill out for a few minutes.
- Take aforementioned dog on as many hikes as possible. Remember the sunscreen. Run. Feel like a warrior with your new super strength lung capacity. Bless the Colorado mountains for the gym-free training.
- Try to sleep in. Your body needs it. Fail at sleeping in. The one time you do sleep in feel guilt for wasting precious hours. Drink as much coffee as you do at school.
- Obnoxiously check your CC banner twelve times a day to see if your Block 6 grade has been posted. It hasn’t, and you know it won’t be until Block 7 is deep. Still, you’ll check every day. That’s OK. You’re only human.
- Attempt to get serious work done on your Writing Center tutor training research paper. Succeed in this attempt but still feel as if the revision will never, ever end. Read another book on the joys of teaching writing. Make more notes. Keep digging.
- Help your mom in the garden. It’s 75 degrees in California. It’s 19 degrees and snowing in Colorado. Enjoy the warmth. Enjoy your childhood home.
- Wake up at 5:30 to drive to Hollywood for a very silly movie/book signing event that you’re too ashamed to mention online by name.
- Download Tinder. Laugh. Laugh some more.
- Bake cookies and brownies and bread.
- Start missing Colorado. Start missing campus, the sprint of the CC life, and eagerly wait for reality to resume its exhaustive tendencies.
- Hug your dog some more.
- Adore every day and night.
The temperature hovers just over 7 degrees. They’re in short sleeves, single-layered tees, soccer jerseys, no scarves or beanies. I’m wearing two layers of tights beneath my jeans, a thermal, mittens, and a ski coat. Though I’ve only been outside for some 15 minutes, my thighs already burn from the freeze. They’ve been shooting since 8 and it’s nearing 11 on this blistering bright Sunday morning in January—this group of enthusiastic students, staff, faculty, and alumni working on Cutler Quad to make a video that emulates CC’s spirit.
Chill clouds puff from chapped lips, and I wonder if the day’s frost will be captured on screen. The camera chases, again and again. Set. Take nine. Rolling. Speed. And action. Jake Sullivan ‘15, the man of the hour, talks while he walks backwards, beaming into the camera that follows on its dolly. A soccer ball darts in the air past his head, he dodges, then smirks and keeps going. Prowler Tiger crawls across the icy stone ground. The extras howl and dance and jump behind until all stand in front of Cutler Hall. They cheer and scream out quirky CC highlights. Cut. The camera quits rolling and the actors huddle into coats and sweat pants. The crew looks over the film, then nod, laugh, comment, and call for another take. Jackets and hats are pulled off and the actors resume their starting place.
It’s January 13th and the Welcome to the Block Plan Admissions Spice video is being filmed. Did I mention it’s 7 degrees?
The camera races. Last week’s remaining snow sparks beneath the sharp sun. And then it snows and then it’s sunny and then it snows and then it’s sunny. Take twelve. At the end of each go, the actors sing out a new chant. We knit things for trees! We crotchet tree huggies! Costume adjustments are made—only black and gold (and denim jeans) for Jake, no purple allowed. Heat pockets are rubbed. The positioning of the reflective bounce disc is altered. They’re all smiling and muttering, mostly smiling, all working together to create something epic, something worthy to represent CC. It doesn’t matter that it’s a Sunday morning of half-block, still technically winter break. It doesn’t matter that limbs are numb and the wind is relentless. Okay, maybe it matters a bit, but everyone involved is nonetheless pumped, happy to help, to participate and make something fabulous together.
This is CC.
I’ve only been observing for a single hour of one day. These same actors and crew members spent yesterday morning—an even more frozen Saturday—shooting at Garden of the Gods. There was salsa dancing and rappelling into a make shift classroom in front of the stellar red rocks and glazed-white Pikes Peak. I imagine the scene will look as if it’s filmed before a backdrop—Colorado Springs is often too extraordinary for reality. And then there’s today, so cold, such a vibrant blue, that particular delicate winter light. Winter Starts arrived yesterday and, as the morning progresses, more students pass by, intrigued by the cameras, by the insane group working, playing, in the cold.
The crew huddles around the camera after each shoot. They review and revise. New ideas form every time—such relentless enthusiasm and persistence for the ideal, it’s a joy to witness even with my numb toes. “Really, probably, this is maybe the last one,” Arielle Mari’12, the always-smiling director, says more than twice. No one complains. They jump to their place, clapping, laughing. The in-progress video is the first taste many prospective students will have of CC, and it’s also the first time a search video—which is made every other year—is filmed in-house by campus blood.
When the final take is shot and the moment is wrapped, I photograph the crew in front of Cutler. My hands shake from the cold. Obviously I’m more of a pansy than these dedicated folk—they’ve been outside for hours longer than me, wearing far less, and each is giddy. Freeze high maybe? They huddle together, grinning, cheeks red. Their long, cold weekend working together to express the ride of Colorado College through film is compete, but I don’t believe they smile because the job is done. Rather, perhaps they smile out of pride, friendship, passion. This is CC. Enjoy the ride.
[UPDATED 3/27/13] It has been brought to my attention that, contrary to popular assumption, this shoot was not the first time CC students and faculty have made a video to represent the College. Ten years ago, under the guidance of the then-director of the Film Studies program, Tom Sanny, was doing this very thing–working with “CC blood” to create an admissions search video. Today, it is the Film Studies program that makes it possible for videos to be filmed in-house by those who know CC best.
I know I’m really sick when I can’t fathom the idea of consuming coffee.
I became really sick last Monday. Last Monday of the block. 4th Week Monday. Monday of doom. The Monday of all Mondays in which one would most desperately turn to coffee, in which being sick is a devastation of great proportions.
And I was sick, sick, sick. Though I initially didn’t feel sick. Just dizzy. Just repulsed by coffee when I so desperately wanted coffee. Just horrendously achy and spin-y. But I still went to class. I still scrambled around campus. I still studied. I still somehow went to ballet. (Do I remember Monday’s ballet class? No. Did I go? Yes.) I still sprinted, because it was 4th Week and one doesn’t stop for anything during 4th Week. And come 4th Week Tuesday, when I was dizzier and achier but yet somehow still unaware of what was happening internally, I still participated in my last class of the block. Still recited “Neither Out Far, Nor in Deep” by Robert Frost (though the recitation happened from my seat with my eyes partially closed as by Tuesday morning my dizziness was severe enough for me to suspect passing out a threat). Still studied and studied and studied (coffee free!) for my final exam and even took an hour break for fresh air and drove through the snow-studded Garden of the Gods then came home and studied some more and packed for Block Break and went to bed, all the while dizzy, all the while refusing to admit that my guzzling Emergen-C by the hour was my bowing down to my impending doom.
It didn’t matter whether or not I acknowledged my body’s revolt. It was too late. The illness had already sunk in deep. And when I woke Wednesday–Wednesday of 4th Week, Wednesday morning of my final exam, last day of Block 5, that So Very Very VERY important Wednesday–it was difficult to even lift my head from my pillow, let alone pull myself out of bed and take a five hour poetry exam. Have you ever had a sinus surgery? I’ve had five in my twenty-one years of life. And Wednesday morning I woke feeling as I do after the anesthesia wears off and I blink to a bright white room and some tower of a man looming over me, booming into my tender ears, “The procedure was a success, Miss Ezell, how do you feel? Do you feel great? You did great! How do you feel?”
How do I feel? How do I feel? How do I feel? I feel like you should give me some more of that magical sleep medicine so I can dream off this excruciating pain drilling through my face, that’s how I feel, Mr. All in White Medical Dude.
And it was Wednesday that I last felt this way (so, no, FYI, sinus surgeries don’t seem to do much good long term wise), and I had a class to finish and an evening plane from Denver to Salt Lake City to catch. So, I flopped out of bed and, little by little, did what I needed to do. Did my best and forgot the rest (my father is a fan of P90X and likes to drill that little mantra into my head during borderline panic attacks). I gave that exam everything I had, zipped up my bag, and–sorry fellow passengers of Flight 0282–trekked onto that airplane equipped with tissues and numbing ear drops.
So, Block 5 is behind me, completed with a somewhat painful limp of a bang. And now, for the first time since last Sunday, I’m drinking a mug of coffee. Enjoying my coffee in Park City with my family. I slept and soaked in baths and was a frightful mess the last few days, but slowly I’m regaining strength. And isn’t that the point of Block Breaks? Have a blast, relax, catch up, and prepare for the next race? Hinduism begins Monday, and though I’m still admittedly weak and shaky, it’d be a lie to say I’m not pumped. It’s like a whole new way of life awaits. And, honestly, though the First Day of the Block Feeling spins in eight times a year (or twelve, if you’re like me and take advantage of Summer Session and Half Block), such glee never gets old.
- Make tea. Drink tea. Drink too much tea with too much honey so you get too hyper happy too quickly and crash from the sugar high at six in the evening.
- Hike through Palmer Park on an absurdly warm January morning.
- Think about studying. Study. Think about studying some more. Study. Think. Study. Drink more tea. Make that a coffee.
- Go to CC’s Winter Ball at the Antler Hotel. Dance. See nearly every face from campus you know (but not really). Shun the crowded bus for a chilly ten minute walk home. Smile as the CC buses pass you, one by one, beacons in the brisk night.
- Spend an embarrassing amount of time searching online for a mattress you won’t need until May.
- Consume lethal amounts of chocolate courtesy of the Preserve.
- Attempt to master scansion. Don’t cry when you have yet to master scansion and third week is mere hours away. Scansion. Scansion. Scansion. You’ll get it eventually. Hopefully sometime this week. SCANSION.
- When it snows for the first time in what feels like all winter, walk around campus at twilight and slip and slide and spin in the dimming light. Lose feeling in your thighs and toes and go home.
- Go to ballet and attempt to not fall on your face.
- Don’t sleep. You don’t have time for sleep. That’s a lie. You totally need to sleep. So try to sleep, but don’t be surprised when you wake up from dreams of poetry. Perfectly normal. You should be used to this: your block never fails to enter your subconscious. Embrace it. Dreaming in poetry is fun. Usually. Except when it’s T.S. Eliot theme. Those can get weird.
- Smile at the faces you know as well your own yet have never actually met before.
- Take a CC bus to Red Rocks to see Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Make it a self-date and weave your way to the front of the ropes and dance surrounded with strangers. Meet a boy from DU who gives you a mean gesture. Hug him. Attempt to make peace. Eventually make him smile, then run because the show begins. He’ll yell something profane as you depart. That’s OK. CC is better anyway. Dance so hard that you take off your coat and feel warm, alive, in a sleeveless dress in the 20 degree Colorado chill. Feel warm, safe, content on the bus ride home, back to campus, home, you are home already though, even the CC bus feels like home.
- Role on a tennis ball on your bedroom floor. Cheapest greatest massage ever. You’re welcome.
- Try not to have a panic attack about all the words you need to write and read and analyze and reread and understand in the next week.
- Find prospective CC students online via Tumblr and Facebook. Convince them CC is magical–it is–convince them it’s worth the risk.
- Call your mom and try not to cry because you’re so overwhelmed and so stressed and so happy and so exhausted at the same time.
- Write a blog in bullet points instead of working on an anxiety-producing paper that you feel should be a cakewalk but is totally not feeling like a cakewalk.
- Wonder what a “cakewalk” is exactly and where the term came from. Make note to Google it.
- Roam campus. Feel blessed. You are.
Here I am again. Typing to a blank screen for CC. I have to admit, blogging on this platform is weird. It was weird when I was in London during those sticky summer weeks. It was weird when I sat in this same campus bedroom, at my desk facing west, trying to make sense of that amazing course that took me to South Dakota and brought me back altered in an intricate, unable-to-define sort of way. And it’s weird now, sitting on my too high of a bed, Monday morning of 2nd week of 5th block inching closer with every letter I hit.
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday night. I never know what to think of Sunday nights.
I’m used to writing for myself, scribbling in secret pages, in password-protected documents, or on anonymous blogs. I’m used to writing for my mother or my father on holidays, or for professors, with the knowledge that only their eyes will scan the page. Or in creative workshops–where it’s grilled into our little minds that the circle is a safe space. My older sister got married in June. At the reception, I read a poem of a toast that I’d scrawled the night before and I nearly collapsed as I spit my words into the microphone. Blogging with my full name on a public space is like the moment your plane hits the runway. Breath held. Feet firm on the sticky carpet. Wait, wait, wait. Heave a sign when no unanticipated impact is made.
Point I’m trying to make, I’m not used to exposure–the vulnerability of thrusting my words onto a public space. I’m unsure if I’ll ever find blogging (especially on my college’s website) normal, and yet–yet–I find this space–this dashboard, this little not-so-hidden-but-somehow-feels-hidden-section of the website–soothing. As made evident from my past posts, despite my intentions (or, perhaps more accurately, my hesitations), I always manage to compose freely here–always punch my keys far more times than anticipated.
If you’re wondering why I’m here again (you’re probably not)–why I’m blogging once more despite the fact that I’m not in a Featured Course, that I’ve already been a Blogger twice before–I’m now the Spring 2013 Student Curator. What does that mean? I’m still grasping the idea of it myself. By definition of the term curator, I suppose it means oversee Colorado College student life (haha–me?–really?). Realistically, my position involves aiding in the construction and management of the blocky Featured Courses and giving little blurbs in regards to events and people that strike my interest and I think will strike the greater community’s as well.
Here though, on this blog, maybe–just maybe–I can give even deeper insight into the CC mind.
That sounds odd. I take that back (kinda). I don’t mean the CC mind. No. I mean, a CC mind. A glimpse into the non-academic (though surely my courses will leak in from time to time–I’m currently in Introduction to Poetry, FYI) side of a CC life. Fair warning: this is a rather introverted, too busy for her own good, often-hibernating fool of a CC mind. But I think that’s okay. I personally adore my day-to-day race, and if I can offer another view of CC, another opinion, another chunk of absurd writing to read, then I’m your girl (until my boss tells me otherwise).
A few weekends ago, I had the pleasure of speaking on the student panel at the Winter Start Orientation. The night fell on my one year anniversary of becoming an official CC student (transfer winter starts unite!) and, gosh, was it dizzying to sit up there–Bemis hall rocking below, a sea of tables with parents and new peers and professors roaring in the thrill. My throat spiked and my eyes burned, and man, I’m so often cliche (get used to it), but I almost cried. I wanted to hug every Winter Start. Every student. Every professor and parent and person associated with this absurdly invigorating place. Life here is not always easy–CC is rarely easy–but every week, day, hour is so worth it–every block a step on this absurdly exhilarating path to wherever it is we are all going.
Anyway. I have many things to write about (that’s an exaggeration). A certain wintery ball that occurred last weekend. A hike I dominated. A secret oh-so-fabulous CC commercial that was filmed in single digit temperatures. But for the sake of brevity (or for the sake of eventually finding some sleep and passing that gnarly scansion quiz tomorrow), I’m treating this as an introduction to my next phase as a CC blogger. The possibilities of what I’ll share here are seemingly limitless (not really), but–really–I just hope to do that: share. Share one’s student rambles of the college so many of us (rightfully) claim as home.