well, folks.

We’ve reached it.

The day before graduation.

Well, technically, by the time I’m finished working on this post, it’ll be the day of graduation.

I’m sitting here on a mattress on the floor, listening to The Civil Wars, surrounded by a dozen boxes of school supplies and makeup and books and shoes, while downstairs, a bunch of peeps are laughing on our big green sofa. A fairly common occurrence in Dexter House. Well, at least the last part. I don’t normally keep all my possessions packed in tupperware boxes on the floor. Or a random mattress.

But earlier this week, a dear friend of mine who had deferred for a semester to do missions in Bulgaria came back to the States, and is visiting Dexter. She is someone I’ve known since freshman year, and in the midst of writing papers and stories and studying, it has been so good to hug her and hear her giggle, which she does often.

I’m so glad I made time to talk with her, even though finals were insane. In. Sane. (Isn’t that weird–like, shouldn’t it be out-sane, because you’re out of your sanity? Oi. This is what finals does to you, people) I finally finished all of my work at 6:00 this evening, last out of all my friends; it was a fifty page collection of short stories I had written for an advanced creative writing class.

And now, goodbye, friends who followed me. I’m back to Newburgh, NY to look for jobs and buy a bunch of stuff I don’t need for my upcoming semester in Oregon (hiking boots? work boots? raincoat? windbreaker? long underwear? earmuffs?), to do some legit pleasure reading. And to make a bunch of phone calls to my friends going back to their homes across the country.

Thoroughly bittersweet, man.

requisite cheesy sunrise picture, to show that although the year is ending, a new one will soon be beginning.
requisite cheesy sunrise picture, to show that although the year is ending, a new one will soon be beginning.

I’m done.

Peace, love, and hope.

Melissa.

the penultimate post.

So: finals begin next week. I have approximately 30 pages to write and edit by Monday. It’s totally doable. I’ll just have to drink, oh, I don’t know, sixteen cups of coffee every day so I can stay awake for the next 192 HOURS.

Just kidding. Compared to a lot of people, I have it pretty dang good.

As the year comes to a close, I’ve been making a concerted effort to hang out more with the people in my house. I’m not much of a person for goodbyes–I always hated all the hugging and squealing and unfulfilled promises to write or call or hang out at the end of summer camp. You’re not actually going to miss each other, so why drag it out?

But I am realizing that I will genuinely, muchfully miss the people in this house.

I will miss watching movies at 11:00PM with ten friends. I will miss sprawling on a friend’s bed, procrastinating together. I will miss people chasing each other around, laughing hysterically, screaming war cries, jumping on furniture.

I will miss the hugs. The psyching each other up or calming each other down, the hashing out our anxieties. I will miss having people dream about my future with me and for me, and knowing my strengths and interests, actually pushing me to break through boundaries and be more inventive. I will miss having people know who I am, right now.

Don’t get me wrong: living with anyone will ensure that you get on someone’s nerves, and that they’ll get on yours. It’s happened. I’ve been disappointed by people in this house, and I’ve been angered. I had a lot of idealist expectations that were not met. Sharing life with this group of people has been rewarding, but hard, and different.

But when it comes time to leave, I will feel a bit lost. And this goodbye will be heartfelt, and over too soon.

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good thing i’m not a hairdresser.

This weekend, mi amigo Trevor and I decided to dye our hair.

Purple. Cause we’re crazy like that. I was going to bleach my tips and do a really light purple on them, and then do my whole head a darker purple. He was going to do sort of a scattered purple throughout.

In CVS, examining the cheap-looking box, we figured, “Ok, we’ve both got a lot of work to do, and this looks like it will only take an hour. Perfect.”

Friends, listen. Between bleaching and waiting and rinsing and drying and dyeing and waiting and rinsing and drying, it took us all day.

As for the results, well, Trevor’s hair is, yeah.

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My hair hardly took the color at all. There’s some faint deep purple highlights when you look at it in the sun, but 85% of the color washed right out during my first shower.

Lesson learned: Go big or go home.

P.S. Trevor is a friend from the Elijah Project, and he is currently working on some huge projects for medical and educational development in Togo, West Africa, including developing a program to bring Gordon students there to do academic research and live in a Togolese village, and partnering with villages to increase disease prevention technology and strategies. He went to Togo for his Elijah internship, and has since been heading down to Washington, D.C. some weekends to meet with Togolese ambassadors to promote these projects–crazy stuff!

he is risen!

I’m having one of those moments.

One of those moments when you look back at everything you can remember saying or doing in the past year and wish you could take things back/ worry about who you hurt/ want to start over?

Not that I think I’m an especially bad person. Living in this community has taught me a lot about communicating clearly, checking my motives, exercising patience, making sacrifices, and being thankful for friends. I like knowing that I’m growing. But I’m so aware of how far I have to go. (Hint: it’s pretty dang far.)

Mostly I’m dwelling on this because I’m home for Easter and spending time with my little sister again. It’s just that I admire and love her so incredibly much, but knowing that she looks up to me is terrifying.

I’m just figuring this out as I go! I’m not qualified to be an example!

But I’m all she has. I am her example. And admitting that means admitting that I will let her down.

So this Easter, I’ll be reflecting on that hard truth. Trying not to be sad about it. Praying for the Holy Spirit to help me trust Jesus’ resurrection as the proof that God turns sadnesses into grace.

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Gordon professors.

The first class I had with Dr. Borgman was American Literature: 1945-Present. He was very strict about us interpreting only the words on the page in front of us–not allowing the author’s personal history or the ideas of the times to sway our interpretation. I felt this was a very artificial way to look at literature. Debate ensued.

The great thing about Dr. Borgman, and I think pretty much all of the faculty I’ve had at Gordon, is that they’re open to arguing with students. If you can back up what you say, they’ll listen, engaging you like an equal. They’ll make extra time if you want to discuss something with them further over coffee.

Now I have him for my Biblical Narratives class, and for some reason we see more eye to eye about how to read the Bible than we do about poetry and short stories. However, the rest of the class doesn’t seem to see eye to eye with us. We’re always getting off topic in class because people want to talk about his theology and talk about salvation and atonement and God’s will instead of OT references in Stephen’s martyr speech.

Anyway, the reason I’m writing this is that Dr. Borgman has invited our entire class over to his house for pizza and desserts next week so that we can get at some of that good tough stuff.

Only at Gordon, folks. Only at Gordon.

multo apologies

for not writing this past week.

It’s been a bit of a crazy time, what with several lovely papers coming up, going home this past weekend to surprise visit my little sister, and figuring out my application to the Oregon Extension.

my sis in costume for her play, Beauty and the Beast

my sis in costume for her play, Beauty and the Beast

(Which I just found out I got into, by the way!)

But today is supposed to be a devastatingly beautiful 67 degrees, and I had Chobani for breakfast, and yesterday I got Anne Taylor Loft pants for $10. So today should be smooth sailing.

Getting home to see my sister was a bit nuts. I live in Newburgh, NY, so I took a Megabus from Boston to NYC. It was super cheap, PS. Like, $30 round-trip-cheap. But I had to take a train to get into Boston, and then the T to get to the bus station. And then in NYC, I had to get the subway to get to Grand Central to take a train home. And I had about 30 minutes apiece to make all of these connections.

Word to all of you people hoping to “catch a bus” home. It’s a little complicated. Inexpensive, but stressful.

However, when I came back on Sunday, I spent the rest of the day chilling in Boston. I visited the Garment District (hence the snazzy pants), walked around the Commons, and had a light dinner at a little cafe. Plus I got caught up on all school and pleasure reading while I was on the bus and trains. Mostly I was reading this and this:

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human rights week 2.0

My first year at Gordon, I read this book in my Christianity, Character, and Culture class:

mountains-beyond-mountains

It got all of us idealistic freshmen excited. We started doing research about different social justice issues, and our professor let us use some class time to start discussing what we should do with this new information and our resources. That is how Gordon’s first Human Rights Week was born.

It was super exciting to be a part of the team that helped lead the week. None of us had ever done anything like it before and didn’t know all the procedures for planning events at Gordon. But we got some pretty cool peeps to come, including this guy:

Gideon Strauss, Editor of Comment Magazine and President of the Center for Public Justice in Washington, DC

Gideon Strauss, Editor of Comment Magazine and President of the Center for Public Justice in Washington, DC

The Human Rights Week ended up taking place in the spring of the following year. This fall, I decided I wasn’t going to be able to participate in planning a second week for this year, so another group of volunteers was rounded up. And this week is the fruit of their labors!

They have an incredible schedule of events planned out, including a clothing swap tonight. Here’s the link to the facebook group for more info :)

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and so it begins.

The last quad of my junior year.

Three of my friends are getting married this summer, and about 7 of my friends are graduating this year, including my brother at Messiah. It’s, like, real life, man. It’s happening, and I don’t know how to stop it.

Last night my housemates and I just hung out and laughed and goofed off  as a group for the first time in a while. It felt so good to laugh hysterically about nothing and just be loud and not serious. But it hit me that the “real” world is not hanging out with 11 friends, sprawled on couches, stuffing yourself with M&Ms, watching Rebecca Black and pretending to be able to rap. It’s not staying up until 1AM after watching Little Miss Sunshine and talking about the educational system. The “real” world is not about open-minded discussions, creative collaboration, and stumbling upon happiness.

Except, my father has pointed out, if you can carve out a niche in the world and surround yourself with people with like-minded values.

I’ve found some truly exceptional community at Gordon. Every group I’ve been in, from my Discovery team to my AJ small group to the Elijah Project, has gotten so tight. I’m used to being in a group of people that loves each other, that has similar goals but very different perspectives, and whose personalities mesh well. And I’m not ready to give that up to join the rat race. Maybe I’m being idealistic, but I’d like to believe that a broad-minded, curious, and joyful group of people waits for me somewhere after college. I’d like to believe that there’s a career out there that allows me to transform the world in some way, and that can transform me.

wait a minute...

wait a minute...

that's more like it.

that's more like it.

Speaking of my AJ small group, a dear friend of mine who I met in my small group was just the in the spotlight in the Gordon blog Notes Along the Way. He’s doing some awesome stuff at KAYA, an after-school program for Cambodian-American middle- and high- schoolers in Lynn, a city nearby in which Gordon has a big presence. To embarrass him a bit more, he’s been an inspiration to me. And this article gives a good idea of some things you can get involved with service-wise at Gordon. Check it out here!

announcing the return of my sanity. maybe?

Ah, the joys of spring break. Coming home to a loving family, familiar foods, a real bed, and…. eleven job applications?

Somehow I think the economy missed the memo. I’m supposed to be relaxing here, not running around stressing about how I’m going to afford grad school and how many times I can get rejected by a place of employment before I want to kill myself.

Actually, this is more of anticipatory stress (that’s allowed, right?)–I got home Wednesday, and the employment attempts are scheduled to begin Monday. It actually was pretty nice to come home. I was a bit delirious from lack of sleep right before I came home and somehow got it into my head that spring break lasted six weeks (I think I got it confused with Lent) and packed enough clothes and supplies to last me that long. I’m talking all my jewelry, six pairs of shoes, shampoo and conditioner and extra deodorant. Imagine my disappointment when I realized my mistake.

Anywho, for now I’ve been working on my application to study abroad next semester. Not abroad-abroad. In Oregon, at the Oregon Extension. The program looks incredible and academically intense, but it emphasizes really deep, discussion-based learning, and developing community in the great outdoors. You should especially watch the informational video, linked here, but also available on the website.

And check out this gorgeous Oregon coastline!

it's pronounced "Oreh-gin" not "Oreh-gohn." i've been corrected like six times by now...

it's pronounced "Oreh-gin" not "Oreh-gohn." i've been corrected like six times by now...

oscar partay!

If you’ve been keeping up, you know that this past weekend were the Academy Awards, and that my housemates and I hosted a party to celebrate. We set up a photo backdrop for people to be paparazzi-ed.

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It kind of was falling down in that last one. Oh well. The evening was still plenty of celebrity-mocking, fondue-dipping fun. We weren’t sure how many people would turn out, so we converted our basement into a VIP lounge to catch any overflow. Previously the boys had been using it as a sort of “man-cave,” and there was a bit of a debate as to whether we should leave it as a VIP lounge and keep it gender inclusive, or let the men have their space.

All being said, there’s now a sign over the door that says “VIP lounge, BOYS ONLY, PASSWORD REQUIRED.” I guess we know who won that one. But a sense a prank in the works…

On a more serious note, Lent is coming up next week. Lent was not a big deal in my household growing up, but since I came to college I’ve been observing it. Brenna is giving up all things related to movies. Kait is giving up non-essential spending. I was going to give up internet-surfing, but I think it might actually be more fruitful if I gave up non-essential spending instead. I am pro-simplicity in theory but kind of flaky at applying it, so it might be a good learning experience. But I have a couple of days to decide, I suppose.

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