We Don't Like Perfect People

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Posts Tagged ‘College

Poisson d’Avril!

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Thursday marks four years that my boyfriend and I have been dating.  Yes, you read that right.  Since my sophomore year of high school, I’ve been the ol’ ball and chain for the same boy.  And for the umpteenth time, no, we’re not getting married.

We didn’t do it on purpose, officer.  It just happened.  One year passed after another, and we somehow didn’t get sick of each other. We went to different schools, lived in different states, and somehow didn’t grow apart.  We meant to do the adult thing and break up after high school, but when it came down to the wire (read:  the day before I went to Millsaps), we couldn’t go through with it.

(We didn’t pick that inauspicious anniversary date on purpose, either.  It…also just happened.)

He’s a computer programmer, and I’m a history junkie; if we had to switch majors for a day, we’d have our pants bored off us by the second hour.  I love to shop, and he damn near has a panic attack every time he remembers that the mall exists.  He likes typography and philosophy, and he eats meat.  I’ve never had a good eye for design, I find philosophy rather arbitrary (except for Sartre, but everybody likes Sartre), and I’ve been a vegetarian since I was fourteen.

It embarrasses him when I talk about Harry Potter as if it is real in public, and when I get involved in arguments about literature on Facebook.  It embarrasses me when he skips in public, and when he wears the “Vagina is for Lovers” t-shirt he screenprinted himself.  (I do have to admit that it’s a nice color, though.  And is as tastefully done as a “Vagina is for Lovers” t-shirt can be.)

He likes to save, I like to splurge.  He’s a morning person, I’m a night owl.  He works hard, I like nothing better than sitting on my ass and procrastinating.  He’s very neat, and I’m a mess.

We’re different.  But we’re also very much the same.

We like to compromise.  We don’t like to shout.  We like giving gifts better than receiving them.  We’re addicted to the Internet.  We both like the mountains better than the beach, and we both have trouble with our swimsuits falling down.  We have similar taste in movies and TV, and we both like to cook—he thinks I make a mean avocado sandwich, and I think he makes killer scrambled eggs.  Oh, and his espresso is to DIE for.

We like cats, Asian food, and blowing things up.  We both speak Toothbrush, and we both drive like grannies.  Each of us knows exactly what the other is talking about, even when the other isn’t making any sense whatsoever (and this is a common problem, because we both have the same bizarre sense of humor).

My roommate, who is a year and a half older than me, got engaged a few months ago.  When I informed my boyfriend of this, he said matter-of-factly, “Good for her.  I’m not engaging you, though.”  When we finished our dinner, he congratulated her, then we retired to his dorm to discuss just how crazy she is.  I like that we can agree on this.  I also like that we can agree children are annoying, and partying is vastly overrated.  This means that, if we so desire, we will be able to continue to get along for the foreseeable future.

It does not, however, mean that we’re obligated to declare ourselves stuck together for life.

People think that we have the strangest relationship on the planet.  They simply cannot understand why, if we have been together for so long, we are not “engaging” (ha, see what I did there?) in the horrid activities most other couples do, like naming our future children (gag) or planning our wedding (ugh).  And it seems that no matter how many times I say to those people, “We’re nineteen, okay?  WE ARE NINETEEN,” they never seem to get it.

This is the way I see it:  if you don’t want children, why should you legally tie yourself to another person?  I’d rather live without a commitment that requires lots of messy paperwork to dissolve, and know that when I am in a relationship, I’m there because the other person wants me to be there, not because it’s too expensive and too much of a hassle to make me leave.

Especially now, when I’ve got at least sixty years left on this earth—if average life expectancy is any indicator of my own—why should I arbitrarily push even more of my life’s milestones into the first twenty-five years of my life?

It doesn’t mean I love him any less.  To be honest, I probably love him more for it, because he feels the same way.

So here’s my acknowledgment of our momentous anniversary, because come Thursday we are going to New York City with my mom and brother, and with all the traveling hullabaloo, I’ll probably forget all about it.  =)

(Seriously, that has happened before.  We both forgot our second anniversary, because it was during our senior year of high school, the day after my dog died and my colleges rejected me, while he was devoting every second of his life to his school play.  My friend Sheri reminded me of the occasion three days later.  FAIL.)

Yeah, I know, it's lame that this is from prom. But we have shockingly few pictures together. He's always behind the camera.

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Written by Estie

March 30, 2010 at 3:43 am

Picaresque FINALE, and the insidious Seinfeld

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It seems that nearly every post I’ve written here has an opening monologue.  I have just noticed this, and I don’t know whether I like it.  Audience poll:  should I cultivate it as a fabulous new addition to my shtick?

Regardless, I suspect that I know from whence it came.

Hello, Jerry...

Oh my Christ, am I Newman?  Though I did not previously feel any kinship with him, his character as described by Wikipedia bears several resemblances to my own:

  • Often speaks in a humorously sinister tone
  • Impulsively protests the idea of any mail being “junk”
  • Tends to be bombastic and verbose
  • Loves food
  • Talents have so far eluded similar recognition to Jerry’s
  • AND my paternal grandfather worked for the Postal Service, so we are genetically linked.

Oh dear.

All of this evidence can only lead to one conclusion:  Seinfeld is insidious.  Cunning, sneaky, quietly powerful; a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  It is a persistent cultural meme.  It is not as explosive as the Interrupting Kanye, but it is nevertheless omnipresent.

Seinfeld is ostensibly a show about nothing.  But by being about nothing, it is simultaneously about everything.  That is why it’s insidious.  While we’re watching weeknight reruns, cringing at 90’s fashion and Jason Alexander’s negative sex appeal, Seinfeld subliminally worms its way into our brains.  We think it’s a sitcom, the sole purpose of which is to shut our brains off, but we are very, very wrong.  Eventually, Seinfeld takes over our subconscious.  We become Seinfeld zombies.

And we write 250 words about a canceled television show, instead of continuing to blog about our life stories.  And that is sad.

*

I am left handed, which endows me with special powers.  These powers are further enhanced by the fact that I have sharper-than-normal eyeteeth, and my second toes are longer than my first.  Also, I may have absorbed my twin.  One of my powers is the power of prophecy.

And now, for the benefit of my readers (all two of you…), I will prophecy:  In twenty years, medical schools will take over the world.

My powers allow me to know this, but perceptive Muggles may find evidence of it in the fact that half of the damn populations of all three of the colleges I have attended seem to be pre-med students.  (I told you I can’t do math:  add that up, and it makes three halves.)  Assuming every other college in the United States has similar demographics, the Congressional healthcare bill will soon be damn superfluous, and the U.S. population will soon have a frighteningly high percentage of smart, highly-educated sadists with God complexes.

And the best of these will come from Emory.

Because it is a top-20 university, Emory has a highly diverse student body.  Everybody has something that makes them special on the surface.  You could probably find a New Zealand-raised Palestinian kleptomaniac with a surgically-corrected cleft palate and a transgender parent somewhere among the undergrad and graduate student population of Emory, if you tried hard enough.

But if you gathered everyone in an auditorium and polled them, you’d find out that nearly everyone wants to be the next Sanjay Gupta.  In other words, wealthy, personable, famous, millionaire doctors with hot spouses.  Many twelve-year-olds also want to be those things.

I should stop to point out that I’m not trying to condemn Emory University in particular.  I suspect this is true of most top universities.  Furthermore, I am sure that there are many exceptions to the rule.  What I am railing against is the stereotype.  So please hear me out, okay?

In middle and early high school, I was socially awkward.  I was kind of a freak, to tell you the truth.  But by the end of high school (probably thanks to those fantastic SSRIs), I had learned how to make friends.  But I really didn’t make many at Emory.  This was not for lack of trying; it was just that, honestly, I preferred the company of my Sims to the company of my classmates.

(I named one Sim baby Pootbrick, and she grew up to be the coolest person ever.)

This is going to sound horrifically snotty and holier-than-thou, but most of the people I met were repulsive.  Even the ones who didn’t smell of tuna salad.  My impression of them was that they were obsessed with gossiping, social status, and money. At their best, they behaved like high schoolers, and at their worst, like the cast of Gossip Girl.

Example:  my English class, taught by a totally awesome guy named Dr. Galle, was full of the sound of crickets, i.e. silence.  Nobody ever talked except for me, my roommate Hira (not the tuna salad one), and Dr. Galle.  Okay, I know most of the students at Emory are scientifically-minded and were taking the course to knock out a graduation requirement, but come on.  These kids are supposed to have SAT scores that are higher than Amy Winehouse.  Need I remind you that two of the three components of the SAT are verbal and writing?  They should at least be able to bullshit their way through a class discussion of Huckleberry Finn.

Honestly, I think the other students were afraid of getting the wrong answer.  This makes me feel a little sorry for them.

In order to get into top universities, you have to have spent your entire childhood being groomed for it.  There are rules you have to follow, which over time become so deeply ingrained that they become part of your character.  You learn to always know the right answer, always make 100%, always do everything correctly.  But English isn’t like that:  there are no right answers, and the best work tends to result from breaking the rules.  That’s scary.

*

I think the real problem is that I can’t handle highly competitive people.  They never seem to have any emotional depth, and even when they do, they seem to be doing their utmost to conceal or destroy it.  They are so consumed with displaying the various ways in which they have “won” at life.  At some level, they seem to realize that it’s hard to display winning at being a good person, and that accordingly falls by the wayside in favor of other goals.

You’d think it would have taken me fewer than thirteen years, forty thousand dollars, and countless thousands of miles to realize that I don’t want to be a Smart Person after all.  I don’t like them, and I don’t like what I become when I think of myself as one of them.  And I don’t think they like me, either.

I’ve decided I don’t believe in dignity, or status diplomas, or Smart People.  All I really believe in is being happy, and for whatever crazy reasons, Country Club University makes me happy.

Well, Punky helps with that too.

Written by Estie

March 13, 2010 at 5:59 am

Picaresque, part 1

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“Hey, you!” you say. “What makes you such an expert on this whole college thing? You haven’t even graduated yet.  You’re not even close.”

Don’t get me wrong, I dig heckling as much as the next person, especially when the heckler has a point.  I mean, isn’t the Daily Show just glorified heckling?  And hasn’t it been the best thing for America since the New Deal?

(Does heckling still look like a word to you?  Because it sure as hell doesn’t to me.)

So, to answer your question.  I’m not an expert.  But I’m a little more…well-traveled…than other students.  This semester — the second in my sophomore year — is the second semester I’ve spent at CCU.  Its beginning also marked the longest time I’ve managed to stay at one college.

I get around round round round...

Yeeeah.

See, what ha’ happened wuz…

[FADE IN]

Int. School Hallway – Day

It is late March.  Little Estie, a senior in high school, calls her mother on her handy-dandy cellular phone, to see whether any big fat acceptance letters have arrived in the mail.  Her mother answers the phone in tears.  She is ululating like a professional mourner.

Estie’s mother:  I DON’T THINK SHE’S GONNA MAKE IT!!!!!

Turns out, Estie’s mother is at the vet’s office with Estie’s dog.  She did not mean for Estie to find out this way, but Oreo has suffered a sudden rupture of the spleen, and will need to be euthanized.  Oreo is only eight years old, and her family loves her lots lots lots.  Estie’s family did not even know Oreo was sick.

Estie’s mother:  YEAH, THERE WERE A COUPLE OF LETTERS IN THE MAILBOX FOR YOU! JUST LITTLE ONES.

This is the thoroughly awful way in which Estie finds out that she has not been accepted to a single one of the colleges to which she applied.

[FADE TO BLACK]

What the hell am I supposed to do now?  I’m an honor student at a prestigious boarding school for the arts. I want to be a writer someday.  For God’s sake, I can’t go to a state school.  And community college?  I’d die of shame!  I’d rather amputate my own toes with hedge loppers.

At this point, I’m sure you probably suspect that this crisis was my own doing (the college one, not the dead dog).  I didn’t really have any safety schools, and though my academic record was impeccable otherwise, I had a nasty dark blot on my transcript called Mathematics.

So.  The short answer is, you’re right, it was my own doing.  The long answer is…a question.  (What a twist!)

Are you ready for another trip back, back, back through the dark mists of Time?

Wheee!

MONTAGE:

1.  Eight-year-old, snaggle-toothed know-it-all (and hyphenation enthusiast) Estie enters the Challenge classroom for the first time.  She is surrounded by late-90’s computers with undulating fractals for screensavers.  Crowded between these computers are scale models of the Parthenon handmade of styrofoam.

2.  Nine-year-old Estie, dressed in a hairy purple sweater, wins the geography bee on stage in front of the entire school.  She is presented with a medal and a stuffed tortoise called Geo Georgie, who sports a pith helmet and a shell that doubles as a globe. She beams.

3.  Nine-year-old Estie sits on a bench at recess, reading a book while the other kids play.  She glances up to make sure she hasn’t missed her class being called back inside.  Her teacher, Mrs. Cook, smiles at her and waves.  Estie waves back.

4.  Ten-year-old Estie is onstage again and still wearing the same damn sweater.  She stands at a microphone with her eyes closed.  She visualizes the word speleologist, and spells it aloud. “S-P-E-I-L…” The judges shake their heads.  Drat.  The next step would have been the national bee!

5.  Twelve-year-old Estie, sporting braces and a Spongebob Squarepants t-shirt, receives a graded math test from her Algebra teacher.  At the top, scrawled in red pen and circled, is a C.  She stuffs it to the bottom of her backpack without another glance.

END MONTAGE.

You can see where this is going, right?  All other sources pointed to the fact that I was smart:  I knew big words, I read lots of books, I scored high on standardized tests, and I didn’t have many friends.  I’d been hearing how precociously bright I was from a very young age.  Not much later than that, I’d also begun to hear about what a nerd I was.  In the socially-cutthroat worlds of middle and high school, being smart was all I had.  I wasn’t about to let anyone find out I had an academic weakness.

My teachers noticed, of course, but they had bigger problems than the fact that one of their honor students wasn’t Meeting Her Full Potential.  On the rare occasions that one of them did speak with me privately, I’d just smile and promise to do better on the next test.  I think they were honestly too exhausted to argue with me.

My parents noticed too, but I was still making better grades than they did in high school.  They let the Cs on my report cards slide without much comment.

It turns out that you can fool your teachers, and you can fool your parents, but you’ve got another think coming if you think you can fool the SAT.  The highest I was ever able to get my math score, after a prep course and a few sessions of private tutoring, was 560.  (Compare this to the 780 and 790 I made on the verbal and writing sections.)  I could have worked harder on math — taken more prep courses, and stuck with the tutor — but by that point the mere memory of math’s existence filled me with deep and pervasive shame.  Every math class and every tutoring session was a run through the emotional wringer.

Instead, I hoped that colleges would read my writing samples, look at my grades in other subjects, and recognize me as the genius I’d always known I was.  Sure, I didn’t have the greatest math scores, but I was exceptional!  Couldn’t they see that?  Didn’t they just know?

Ha.  Ha.  Ha.

No.

I present, for your viewing pleasure, the list of schools to which I applied:

  1. The University of Chicago
  2. UNC Chapel Hill
  3. Reed College
  4. Washington University in St. Louis
  5. Whitman College

I am a big fat idiot.

I did not realize this until that fateful afternoon that my dog died, my schools rejected me, and I probably lost some of the hearing in my right ear.

Luckily, one of my Creative Writing teachers found me On the Verge of Meltdown after I hung up the phone.  He’s the male counterpart to the crazy cat lady archetype:  he chain-smokes, looks homeless, and owns nine dogs plus one very ornery cat named Herb.  His wisdom is second only to that of the great Roger Ebert.

He took me into his office, showed me a photo album of all the dogs he’d ever owned, and promised that he’d help make things all right.

And in a long, extremely roundabout way, he did.

Written by Estie

February 25, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Bonjour.

with one comment

Now that the salutation’s out of the way, I’m Estie.  Otherwise known as Celeste.  Otherwise known as:

  • Molestie
  • Impresstie
  • Armrestie
  • Pestie
  • Depresstie
  • Incestie, etc.

These nicknames are the creations of my younger brother, who thinks he is more grown up than me.  I’d like to point out that I’m not the one who was caught practicing my Rick Astley impression by a three-year-old child and a dental hygienist the last time I had my teeth cleaned.  But I digress.

I’m a nineteen-year-old sophomore at what I’ll call Country Club University in Greenville, South Carolina.  Yes, we even have a golf course.  And before you ask, Mark Sanford jokes are welcome here—see http://www.cafeats.com/ for further details, or consult Jon Stewart (duh).

To tell you the truth, though, Greenville is actually pretty nice.  We do our best to make the rest of the state look bad.  This is mostly due to the efforts of this cool guy:

Max Heller: Eat your heart out, Charleston! Nobody ever got malaria here.

The title of this blog is my great-aunt Eunice’s reaction to hearing that I only had a 3.5 GPA after my first semester at CCU. In keeping with Aunt Eunice’s wisdom, I hope to serve as a voice of reason to all those poor high school and college students out there who are killing themselves trying to be the perfect student.  I’m not advocating slacking, I just want to remind everyone (and help myself remember) that there’s more to life than making straight A’s.

Most of my entries will focus on issues related to college life, in all its various incarnations.  This will be limited somewhat by the fact that I don’t drink, and I’m not in a sorority.  If you’re here to find out the juicy details about all the bangin’ parties that go on down here at CCU, I’m afraid I can’t help you.  But if you want an honest look at what the life of an ordinary student is like, uncensored by marketing and admissions officers, you’ve come to the right place.

You’ve also come to the right place if you want to know one college student’s opinion on fashion, books, film, culture, teh interwebz, What Constitutes Proper Behavior, and anything else that comes to mind.  I’m not an expert, but like any good college student, I still reserve the right to present my opinions in as pretentious a manner as I desire.  I will also do my best to make these observations relevant to college life.

Apparently, it’s bad to make your readers go “whuh?” too often.

But sometimes, because I have delusions of grandeur, I will drift off into sordid tales of my own life and times.  I hope you’ll find them interesting, or at least entertaining (spoiler:  I fall down a lot).  If you are Not Amused, I apologize in advance.  I suggest that you visit Roger Ebert’s blog instead, because unlike me, the man actually knows what he’s talking about.  If he fails to move you, I have to inform you that you are either a Republican, a sociopath, or a spambot.

Begone!

In sum:

Me = Estie.  This = college blog.  You = welcome.

(I am a history major.  Above may be more math than I’ll do for the rest of my life.)

Written by Estie

February 25, 2010 at 2:35 am