small liberal arts college

He looks like a beatnik 1960s art teacher at a small midwestern all-women’s liberal arts college, and I am all in for it. (I can imagine the scenario in a ye olde teen movie on TCM: “Have you had Professor Gyllenhaal for Art Intro?’ asks Mary-Lou. “He’s the dreamiest!”)


I don’t know why I can’t stop thinking about Diana Gabaldon’s comment to that poor girl who came to her for advice. Usually, I roll my eyes at Diana and I move on. But I can’t do that today.

Maybe it’s because I’m thinking about going back to school. And it’s the scariest thing on Earth for me to think about. Maybe it’s because I remember being 18 years old and asking those questions of people I admired and my dreams being squashed until all that was left was a small, scared teenage girl who didn’t know what she wanted out of life.

I am a creative person who thrives on dreams and chaos. I hate structure, unless it is structure that helps to regulate the constant whirlwind in my brain. I can’t make decisions without the input of 700 people and I second guess every step I make.  I want to believe I’m a talented writer, people have told me I am, but I can never be sure. I am my own worst critic. Be that the depression or my temperament, I’m not sure.

When I was seventeen and looking forward to starting college, I had two requirements. I wanted to be a creative writing major and I wanted to attend a small liberal arts college. I started my college visits, was offered scholarships to several, and was really looking forward to being in a creative environment. I was stuck between two colleges, North Central in Naperville, Illinois, and Reed College in Portland, Oregon. I had gotten a $7k a year scholarship at Reed and a $14k a year scholarship at North Central (for their speech program)…they barely made dents in the tuition, but I knew what I wanted.

Then one day, while I was struggling with my decision between the two, I asked my mom for advice. Immediately, she told me she had been thinking about it and she didn’t want me to go into debt for school. She told me to apply to our local state university for two years and then I could transfer to a liberal arts college. We fought for days over it, but I eventually gave in.

I never made it to the liberal arts college.

When the time came to start school, I brought all of my paperwork home and my mom, step-dad, aunts, uncles…everyone…immediately started telling me how much of a mistake it would be to be a creative writing major. “You won’t make any money!” “You don’t want to go into debt for a useless degree!” My mom (and later, three teachers) suggested political science. “You can go to law school!” “You can work in politics! You’ll be much happier with that degree.”

I wasn’t.

I lasted a year and a half in college, following everyone else’s dreams for me. I took sixteen credit hours, worked two jobs, and started on a downward spiral that ended with me crying in a professor’s office, telling him I couldn’t do this, I couldn’t continue on. I was drunk, my hips were bleeding from having cut myself, and I hadn’t eaten in two days. By then, I had changed my degree to English ( “You can be a teacher!”) and there wasn’t a second of college I liked. I was miserable in a state school of thousands of students, being taught by professors who didn’t know me, and studying something I didn’t want to.

I dropped out the next day. It was meant to be a short term solution to a big problem. I got treatment for depression and anorexia, and the plan was for me to go back. But the experience was so scarring that every time I’ve tried to go back, I suffer giant panic attacks.

Every day, I wish I hadn’t listened to my mom. I wish I had listened to my gut. Even if it had led to me being in debt, even if it had led to me asking someone if they want fries with that…I wish I had followed my passion and my dreams. I work a job I hate right now, I’m in debt, I work an 8-5 job with benefits…and I’m deeply unhappy.

Sometimes, most of the time, following the money isn’t the answer. Following your heart often is. And for Diana to try to tear that away from a young woman who is in a difficult period of her life, it shows how little this woman has learned. Writers, in my experience, are often extremely empathetic and caring. They are romantic souls who see people in varying shades of gray, instead of black and white. To yearn for money is not to see the world for its beauty, love, tragedy, and ugliness. 

My advice to the young woman who contacted Diana? Follow your dreams. Follow your heart. Learn to love yourself and the world and college. You may struggle when you’re out, you may take jobs that you would NEVER dream of taking, but none of that will make you a failure.

You’re a failure when you’ve given up. Not when you keep on fighting for what you love. Not when you take a job that others look down upon to follow your passions.

Small Liberal Arts School Gothic
  • Is that a frat party or a funeral pyre you see in the distance? You wouldn’t wonder except… there was that one time.
  • Watch out for a capella groups… they’re everywhere, and they seem to be multiplying. Were there so many last week? Did they have so many harmonies? Those haunting, otherworldly harmonies…
  • The frat chapters aren’t national. They aren’t really local either. They seem to be multi-dimensional mostly. The parties they throw are dark rituals, and the pledge class gets smaller after each one. Maybe they just can’t stand the pressure? That’s probably it.
  • You and this girl have had classes together every semester since freshman year. Your friends have all had classes with her every semester since freshman year. You don’t know her name. She couldn’t have been in all those classes at the same time, could she?
  • Your department has more visiting professors than tenured faculty. Their visits seem to get shorter and shorter. You knew one professor who made it for three years before their “contract was terminated.” The last professor didn’t make it an entire semester. “Terminated” the head of the department said in answer to their absence. “Terminated” was all she would say, growing steadily softer.
  • Ultimate Frisbee is the most “liberal arts” sport. Quidditch is the most “liberal arts” sport. The teams have been silently feuding over this point for years. It seems to be getting more violent. You are worried the war is coming soon. Soon you too will have to pick a side.
  • The College President’s house in on campus, and a dark cloud seems to hang around it at all times. Even on bright spring days, there are deep shadows surrounding the president’s house. He is rarely seen. When he comes out of his dark abode to give speeches, something seems off about his smile, and you’re sure you see something moving under his skin. Look away quickly. Tell no one.
  • Diversity is very important to your institution. Diversity is the buzzword you hear every day. Diversity is the chant that can be heard from the Admissions Office basement if you pass by the building in the spring. You almost wish things would be a little less diverse. The fish-people in your 8am are so uncomfortably damp.
  • The population seems to be unusually white. In fact, you’re pretty sure it’s gotten more white over your time at the school. You were sure there were several clubs dedicated to the experiences of students of color just last year, but even they are white now. In fact, you seem to have gotten more pale, more white as you’ve continued your education.
  • The student wellness center doesn’t seem to be very helpful. The nurses have dead eyes and seem to run far more blood tests than you think you need. “More blood” they whisper, grabbing another syringe. You wonder if you should run.
  • “I pulled three all-nighters this week” you overhear in the dining hall. This makes you want to laugh and cry at once. Thinking back, you can’t remember the last time you slept. It’s just finals, you tell yourself. It’s February.
small liberal arts college horror/gothic
  • you have never seen the dean of your school. you get the letters, signed only ‘dean’, you heard a voice through her office door once, but no one has ever seen her. one night, when the moon was a waxing crescent, you thought you saw a shadow through the window of the office. it did not look human.
  • the frat bros who hang around the school gate are there every night, even when there’s class the next day. everyone sees them, but no one knows their names or whether they even go to this school.
  • the tall girl sitting on the wall blows nicotine-filled smoke into your face. you say “could you keep that to yourself please?” once you blink the smoke from your watering eyes, she has vanished.
  • the letters pile up in the unused box in the mailroom. more and more come each day. they are encroaching on the box for room 102. how that boy’s mother must miss him. 
  • the only people who go to the hiking trails behind the school are the track team and those weird guys from your biology lecture. you ask one of them if it’s nice back there and his eyes glaze over. “nice where?” he asks you in a monotone voice. you say “never mind”
  • you do not see the food delivery car pull up next to your apartment. you hear a car engine, and suddenly your doorbell rings. you wait 20 minutes to answer it, and by then your food is sitting on the doorstep in the rain. there is no one there. good.
  • there are hundreds of posters on that bulletin board. ones from events that have already happened. from events that never happened. but none for future events. 
  • as you get farther from the center of campus, the dorms get stranger and stranger. from the third floor of one building, a softly pulsing green light catches your eye. you don’t look back. from another, you hear a low hum and a beat. you hope it’s someone playing music. 
  • you walk into your professor’s office. there are piles of books everywhere, some reaching all the way to the ceiling. many are in languages you don’t know, languages you don’t think are real. from the other end of the room, you hear a low voice hiss “you wanted to see me?”

So in case anyone didn’t know, I am a theater major (specializing in technical theater and design, rather than acting/directing) at a smallish women’s liberal arts college. Our theater department is small and underfunded and under-appreciated, and I know almost everyone in the department and call all the faculty and staff by their first names and have been an assistant costume designer on two mainstage shows. It’s great.

Because we have to struggle with budgets and resources for bigger shows, the department doesn’t get a chance to put on musicals very often. Our resident director(/directing professor/acting professor) has been pushing for us to do one at least every few years to give the acting students that opportunity, though, and since the last musical the department did was Rent in the spring of 2014, we started talking last year about doing another one this spring.

The committee originally settled on Chicago, but there were some issues with licensing costs as well as with collaboration with the music department’s jazz band. Into the Woods was suggested instead, until it was discovered that approximately five other theaters in the area were also doing it this spring. So they chose Cabaret.

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More BS from Academia

As many of you know I am on academic probation. Just in case anyone thought that “small liberal arts colleges” were more tolerant and open than others, you were wrong.

Tonight I got this from my professor in regards to the rough draft for my thesis:

Hello ____,

I had the pleasure of reading your rough draft today. It could use a lot of work. Your starting argument about the oversexualization of women of color and the sexism surrounding norms of oral sex was a strong one, but you didn’t use any sources. I’m sure you could find a myriad of sources on such topics; I can’t accept a paper that doesn’t cite anything but personal opinion.

In addition, I felt that you strayed a bit from your main theme. The purpose of the thesis is to deconstruct the public reaction to “My Neck, my Back” which is a very interesting idea, but your thesis was 20 pages longer than the maximum length, and pages 50-77 were a series of poems and personal anecdotes which would be better suited to a creative writing course. Generally, these types of projects are better without a lot of personal context; I understand that some of your sexual experiences pertain to the subject matter but combined with the lack of sources, the description of your first encounter with cunnilingus makes your thesis seem unprofessional and rambling.

In addition, I need to stress the importance of proper grammar. Using. Periods. After. Every. Word is not proper grammar or punctuation. Random capitalization and bolding of words that you think are important are not necessary. You also should steer clear from expletives or insults (such as “fuckmonkeys”, “asstrumpet” or the other insults you used to describe oppressors- which were funny for casual chat but not appropriate for a thesis).

Your other work in this course has been solid, and I hope that you can revise your thesis using your usual style, which has always been a pleasure to read. Please feel free to see me at anytime to go over the specifics of your thesis.

Making the Grade - Ch. 1

The only sound Poppy Miller could hear was the pounding of her heart in her ears.  The words were swimming in front of her eyes.  “Clerical error…unable to complete graduation application…missing credits.”  Reaching up with a trembling hand, she pulled her laptop closed with a quiet click.  “No no no no no.  This is not how this is supposed to go.  This is not how this is supposed to happen.”   Her voice was thick, the words tinged with panic.  She rolled away from the small desk in her cramped office and dropped her head between her knees and started counting.  “100…99…98…97…”  The numbers had always soothed Poppy, even when she was a small girl.  They never changed, there was always order, and they never faltered.  Saying them out loud made her feel like she was in control and centered, even when things in her world were spinning into chaos.

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the us college system is so….inherently elitist, classist, and racist like. u can say ‘the name value of ur college doesnt matter, what matters is the education they give u’ but its only a true statement in a vacuum. like the system of ivy leagues and big private schools which cost a shitton of money and historically and currently, only rich white men can afford made it such that these schools “mean” something more on a resume. while its important to acknowledge the value of hard work, privilege will get you just as far in the capitalist world and that is so evident in how employers care so much about name value of one’s college. not only does this system place disproportionate value upon going to a big name school that one might not be suited to rather than an actual good school for an individual, it is historically racist, as elitism is directly tied into racism when it comes to college affordability and reputation. 

as a high school student who takes classes at a small liberal arts college, this dichotomy is so visible in that high schools will push for ivys. the education one can get, particularly at the college i take classes at, is equal to that of a big name private university but the difference is the level of competition and reputation created by historically old, rich, white founders and students that make the college more ‘reputable.’ as a south asian student in a magnet program, this dichotomy becomes even more visible, as both parents and administrators will push for big schools and completely overlook options that provide amazing educations but arent big name. 

however, at the end of the day, employers care so much more about the reputation of the school one attended than the education one actually received. how many presidents, supreme court justices, and lawmakers attended harvard, yale, columbia, and the like? nothing makes them inherently smarter than the average doctorate candidate at a state university than the reputation of their university, which again, is based solely upon how rich, white, and male it is and was. 

anonymous asked:

We were supposed to be a line of 5, the other 4 decided to just be paper. Should I post pledge without them? I go to a small liberal arts college with only 2 sororities and 2 frats, all the frats pledge, the other sorority does not. I know if i choose not to pledge we could grow membership on campus, but i also don't wanna be looked down upon for not earning my letters.

You ARE a line of five and you WILL NOT post pledge.

You already earned your MEMBERSHIP.  Fuck what anybody else on your campus does, ESPECIALLY not no niggas in a frat. They don’t need to know one single damn thing about your process and what it entailed.

okay bye

–Uncle Rashid

Hello! My first post was my January monthly spread, but I realized I should do a more in-depth intro post. Whoops! 

My name is Caroline Moira and I’m a 21-year-old California native. I’m studying journalism and advertising at a small liberal arts college and I’m a senior, so I’m graduating this May! Yikes! 

My main blog (which I follow from) is @exilevilifys and it’s basically a lot of fandom stuff (80% The X-Files), style/aesthetics, LGBTQ+, music and other assorted topics. I’m also really in love with Sarah Paulson and Gillian Anderson.

This blog will be more focused on journaling and bullet journals than studying, because I don’t have a very conventional academic schedule for my last semester. I also want to keep my creative spirit alive because sometimes I’ve felt like my academics have stifled my creativity a little and given me less time to make art. 

However, if you have any questions about English/grammar/proofreading, I’m a major nerd about it all, so I love to help out! Editing essays is one of my favorite things ever. 

My favorite studyblrs/journal blogs are: 

Please reblog so I can find more amazing journal/studyblrs and be part of the community! Thanks and have a lovely day :) 

From the Middle of the South Pacific to the Middle of No where

I left my island to attend a small liberal arts college in Iowa. I never thought that I would receive so much of the world at this small town school.

My first year dorm floor consisted of girls from India, South Korea, Myanmar, Egypt, Iran, and Nepal. We were dubbed the UN of our college. At my school, I also made friends with students from Jamaica, China, Ghana, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Cambodia, Serbia, Mexico, Bangladesh, Iraq, Czech Republic, and so many other countries! Who would have thought that these many people would leave their home in the world to study in the middle of cornfields! Lol

Meeting these people and creating friendships with them are some of the greatest blessings in my life. Growing up in American Samoa, there wasn’t much diversity or an opportunity to learn from a different cultural perspective. I believe I have become so much better at empathizing as a result of my friendships with people who are different from me ethnically and culturally! When bad things happen in other countries, I feel a more personal compassion for and connection to that country, when I know that my friend is from there.

When people debate the merits of diversity and inclusivity in schools and workplaces, I can’t help but think of how much more open minded and understanding I have become learning from people who are so different from me.

anonymous asked:

Hi! So I got into Smith, which is one of my top choices, but I also got into Amherst college, which is another one of my top choices. I was wondering if there were any significant differences and similarities between the two schools. Thanks!

Congratulations on your acceptance into Smith College! Both Smith and Amherst are small, liberal arts colleges located in Western Massachusetts. In regards to differences, Smith is a women’s college and Amherst is co-ed. Smith College also sets empowering women in all aspects of life from academics, professional and personal as a major goal. This question requires a personal answer in my opinion. Other Smithies and Amherst people might counter what I have to say, but this is my personal reason for choosing Smith over Amherst. “These will be the only non-coed years of your life.” When I was first deciding whether to attend Smith or Amherst, a UCLA alumni told me that she wished she had attended a women’s college. UCLA is a great school, so I was confused by her statement. When I asked her why in the world she would abandon her alma mater for a women’s college, she looked me straight in the eyes and told me that co-ed schools can provide their students with an awesome education, but they cannot provide the same space and openness necessary for individuals–especially women–to gain insight into the society we live in, our position as women within this world, and what we can do to change the inherent unfairness of this world. The alumni told me that by her second year of college, she felt that something was missing. Women’s colleges, such as Smith, provide women with a sense of support and camaraderie. Though some people think women’s college graduates are unprepared for the “co-ed” world, this is far beyond the truth. Women’s colleges, including Smith, has prepared some of the most successful and revolutionary women. Among them are Nancy Pelosi, Madeleine Albright, Gloria Steinem, Hillary Clinton, and so many other incredible women. Women’s college graduates truly are Wonder Women who surround themselves with smart and capable women in order to enter the real-world with a punch. Amherst is a great school, but Smith will provide you with equal academics and an even stronger sense of self. If you really wanna study at Amherst, well you can always take classes there as a Smith student because of our relationship with the Five College Consortium. Also, we have better houses and rooms (just saying).

Just thought you should get to know me a little.

So who am I?

I’m the girl in the room on the hall that has very loud yodeling coming from it at nearly 1 am.

I’m the girl who was nearly in the shower when the fire alarm went of, but had to grab her laptop and phone on the way out.

I’m the girl that’s attempting to grow Venus flytraps in the window.

I’m the girl with a sign on the door that portrays a teacup and says “Honorary British Mum”.

I’m the girl who better not be interrupted on Thursday nights between 9:00 and 2:00.

I’m the girl that you may see playing DnD upstairs. I play a half-orc cleric.

I’m the girl that gets yelled at by her friends because she chose a small liberal arts college near home (for medicine nonetheless) over Harvard.

That’s me. I’m a weirdo. I’m crazy, but only when I’m comparing people to countries involved in the First World War. Only when I’m freaking out about Eurovision or Critical Role or Until Dawn or Harry Potter. I’m a freaking nerd.

And I love it.

anonymous asked:

When you talked about your work you mentioned that rich people got up to some weird stuff. What's the weirdest stuff you've learned about the super rich people you research?

I guess it sometimes depends on how we define weird. Like…rich people get really obsessed with really inconsequential shit. In the words of Rex Stout, “People who aren’t often annoyed annoy easily.”

As an example, Larry Ellison owns a home out in the wilderness somewhere (I used to know where) and there was an issue with a tree – his neighbors had this really tall tree that was obstructing his view of The Wilderness, and there was maybe a lawsuit? But the point of this story is not the tree, the point of this story is that it led to rumors that Larry Ellison has a lawyer specifically and solely designated to handle Legal Tree Issues, a Tree Lawyer. And he has vehemently denied this.

Larry Ellison is worth upwards of forty billion dollars. Forty billion. With a B. He doesn’t mind the rumor that he flew a private jet under the Golden Gate Bridge. But he is VERY INSISTENT that we all know that he does NOT HAVE A TREE LAWYER. 

(Incidentally he is also very into becoming an immortal. He’s 72 and apparently realizing he can’t take it with him, so I suppose it stands to reason.)  

On the other end of the “fucking wild” spectrum is Nicolas Berggruen, who several years ago decided he was done with…home ownership. He got rid of all his personal real estate and reportedly most of his belongings, bought a jet, and spent years living on his jet and in hotels, traveling the world with a duffelbag (which apparently included stuffed animals). He kept clothing at all the hotels where he regularly stayed, but otherwise didn’t own much. (Other than, you know, a jet and a real estate investment empire he grew to $2.5B out of a $250K inheritance.) 

The thing is, I love Nicolas Berggruen, because he’s lived a life that compared to his peers has done little harm. He traveled the world with the goal of “having lunch with an interesting person every day” and shopping for paintings to buy and give to the LA County Museum of Art. For years he was known as the “Homeless Billionaire” until he got word of the nickname and decided to buy a home so they couldn’t call him that anymore.

Then there was Barre Seid, who tried to covertly buy a small liberal arts college so he could turn it into a libertarian paradise, and was foiled by the school’s own students. (He’s also a frothing Islamophobe but I find his UTTER DESTRUCTION at the hands of college sophomore Allie Peluso is a much more uplifting story to tell.) I had to go to my boss and be like “So…can I talk to the person who suggested we ask this guy for money? I need to grab them by the lapels and yell NO in their face really loudly.”

I’ll close with this one, because I think it’s charming: we have one prospective donor, she’s the daughter of a prominent foreign businessman and worth billions. We know quite a bit about her, especially since she does a lot of charity work. She’s married to a man who seems nice, he’s pretty invested in charitable work too, but we can’t find out a fuckin’ thing about him. Our best guess at him is that he’s “probably French and possibly Buddhist”. I am delighted by how this princess apparently married the most amiable, anonymous peasant she could possibly find. He looks nice! (But we have no way of knowing.)