Magnets In My Feet
You can imagine the shock and confusion that a Lifestyle Amateur feels upon being asked to return to her alma mater on Admitted Students Day to advise seniors caught in college purgatory.
The initial flattery of this offer was chased by utter disappointment, suddenly realizing that Sarah Lawrence's administration *clearly* did not read my blog. For if they had even skimmed through the titles of my posts, they would have immediately concluded that I am in no position to provide anyone advice about anything. True, I had been a tour guide during my tenure at Sarah Lawrence, but was I really to be trusted to guide four years of these kids' lives when I can barely navigate my day off?
Nonetheless, I instinctually jumped into my official duties as Amateur Ambassador du jour through shameless selfie-promotion and unwarranted trolling through the Class of 2019's Facebook group. Diligent 'research' on the poor souls who would soon be victims to my madness confirmed that indeed no one reads my blog.
Scrolling through their posts, what I found was a bulletin board of portraits of awesome enclosed in apologies for grammatical mistakes or "being a total nerd".
Despite a late night spent discussing Nutella milkshakes my new Sadie Lou cohorts, I arose on ASD morning bright-eyed and bushy tailed, strapped on my Ryan Stiles-inspired blue oxford shoes, and drove to SLC dangerously turnt on Christina Aguilera's first CD.
I headed straight to breakfast tent upon my arrival to only to be redirected by my bodyguard (Admissions Counselor, Rebecca) to talent holding (a conference room in Westlands) for an hour-long debrief of my public appearances for the day. The remaining fifty-eight minutes were filled with an impromptu seminar on the anthropology of Crazy Bones as taught by Admissions counselor, Professor Adam. Enlightened with 90's nostalgia, Rebecca and I headed downstairs to greet our prospees for an Ask-Me-Anything panel that is available to listen to here on the Sarah Lawrence Admitted Students Day website.
I then embarked on an impromptu tour of the campus for the admitted students tuning in on Snapchat beginning with a midday dangle from the swingset on the North Lawn. (*Note to the Class of 2019: The swings are the best remedy for conference week mind constipation.)
I took a seat alongside a girl branded with an Admitted Students Day name tag and forewarned her that I was about to obnoxiously take a selfie video. It just so happened that she, too, was trying to swing and selfie, and asked if I could take her photo after I finished recording. I obliged on one solitary condition: she had to join me in my Snap.
Her name was Grace and she had not officially decided on Sarah Lawrence, but was definitely interested in studying Italian language. It was as if giant pendulum fates had been aligned in our favor, as my next stop was to surprise my former Italian conversation teacher, Maria-Grazia. She would be the perfect person to sort through Grace's collegiate concerns as a professional sounding board to roughly-translated ramblings of twenty-nothings.
Although surprised by our drop-in, she invited Grace and I into our office to sit beneath her Trevi Fountain of infinite wisdom. When asked by Maria-Grazia what she was looking for in a college, Grace responded with a nervous laugh, "I'm not exactly sure, but I can tell you all of the things that I don't want!"
Maria-Grazia encouraged this rationale with an Italian idiom. "I tell my students, 'Vivere la vita sulla pella: live life through your skin'. Challenge yourself and don't be afraid of making mistakes. It is through our mistakes that we learn what works for us and what doesn't, so that we can try again and make what we want for ourselves possible."
"You are unique, and if you are conscious of your uniqueness, you will be a winner. it’s when we blend that we fall behind”
Sarah Lawrence's distinct liberal arts pedagogy forces students to 'vivere la vita sulla pella' through individually-constructed conference projects that test the authenticity of a student's purported educational interests. As a consequence, graduates go on to create professional opportunities for themselves that are coherent with what they want to do in life having actualized all of the things that they do not.
Two fine examples of such occupation opportunists were my co-panelists on the Young Alumni Q&A session at the conclusion of my day, Annie Soga ('11) and Dominick Boyle ('14). Annie is the co-founder of STUDIUM/punctum, an online shop and publishing house to zines, and the co-author of Shelf Life, a part perzine-part travel guide that she writes with her business partner, Tim. Dom is a talented violinist who graduated with me in 2014. He now works as a composer for dance, theater, and film, and produces thought-provoking radio pieces that you can listen to on his website, DominickBoyle.com.
Upon learning where we were headed post-Sarah Lawrence, students and parents in the audience were curious as to know how we arrived there in the first place. In my case, it was a matter of failure and fate.
I applied early-decision to NYU Tisch School of the Arts to study screenwriting and film, and eventually go on to become the female Martin Scorsese. These dreams were instantly deflated by a paper cut from a rejection letter that denied my entrance into the prestigious program. My cousin Michael suggested that I might like Sarah Lawrence, so I applied last-minute to fill the piecwe of my heart that NYU confiscated along with a nonrefundable fifty-dollar application fee.
Come spring, I found myself exactly in Grace's place nervously about to embark on a grand college tour before deciding on the place where I would spend the next four years of my life. My guidance counselor, who I assumed had accidentally eaten a confiscated pot brownie, reassured me that I would know intuitively where I was supposed to be when I felt 'magnets in my feet'.
Dear Counselor Rosenbaum,
This is a photo of my Ryan Stiles shoes that I Snapped idly before a swarm of unsettled seniors came to listen to my college advice.
I shared this personal admissions anecdote, leaving them with your Theory of Pedigravitation in hopes that they, too, might feel magnets as strong as mine.
I'm sorry for falsely accusing you of unknowingly consuming hashish before our appointment, and I'm sorry for telling the admitted students all about it.
... and I'm sorry for blogging about it now.
Best from The Worst,
*Trust falls into emptiness*