Yes or No to Boarding School?

By: Sue Ann

Miss Hall’s School

As the pressure to decide on where to go to college looms closer. . . I can’t help but think back to my high school experience.

Never in a million years did I imagine attending boarding school. Especially not one 3,000 miles away from home in Massachusetts. And all girls? Yea, no thanks.

But then I received an academic scholarship to attend Miss Hall’s School and my parents were convinced I had to go. As wonderful as the opportunity was, if you asked me if I would want to go again, I wouldn’t have a definite answer.

As great as boarding school was, I terribly missed being at home the first two years. I really missed seeing my parents and hanging out with my best friends since kindergarten. And as much as I dreaded the whole “sit down for dinner and talk about your day” with my parents, I actually missed having that every night. It was boarding school that made me realize I took certain things for granted.

Sure, the academics were great because the teachers were around 24/7. Most of them lived with us in student residential buildings. I could knock on a teacher’s door at 8 pm and get academic help from a teacher if I needed it. That’s how dedicated the instructors were.

And I have the most amazing friends because of boarding school. Living together for four years gave me the most amazing memories: leaping at joy due to class cancellations, attending tennis practices, faking being sick with friends to skip class on the rare occasion, sneaking out past night hours to hang out in a friend’s room, taking trips to hike, etc. And those same friends I have great memories with are the ones I hang out with on a weekly basis even though we all attend different colleges. I’m thankful that boarding school gave me lasting friendships/sisterhoods.

One of the best memories I have of attending Miss Hall’s is being a residential life proctor my senior year. I was living in a small house separated from the campus (not in the senior apartment) with six underclasswomen, so I had a unique, personal experience with each student. I’d do rounds every night from 10 – 11:30 pm to chat with each student about how their day was and then check in with the head of residential life. It’s those same students who still message me on a monthly basis two years later and ask me about my college life and such.

Boarding school is definitely not for everyone. I saw so many students come and go during my four years because living away from home at 13 didn’t feel right for them. Like I said earlier, I’m not sure I’d even choose to go to boarding school again if I had the chance. Despite the sacrifices I made by going all the way to the other side of the US, I’m so grateful for all the friendships and connections I made that I wouldn’t have had I stayed at home.

Advertisements

Ode to the SparkNotes Twitter Account

By: Juliet Godwin

Whoever is running the SparkNotes Twitter and Instagram accounts deserves some kind of award or something. Those pages are truly a goldmine of top-tier literary memes.

All joking aside, I think that SparkNotes is doing something pretty cool with its online humor. They combine “high-brow,” classic literature with the “low-brow” humor of the internet. By doing so on their social media platforms, they connect with the audience that their educational resources cater to: students.

The premises of a lot of classic literature sound pretty insane when described out loud, the authors of old truly had some wild lives, and we’ve definitely come a long way from many old literary tropes. Poking fun at, say, the absurdity of Hamlet forcing everyone watch a play about an uncle murdering his brother and sleeping with his wife just to confirm whether or not his uncle has actually murdered his brother and slept with his wife, or maybe at the idea of Montresor entombing Fortunado in the wall of his wine cellar forever by promising him a rare vintage, allows us to connect with these works fondly instead of viewing them at a wary distance as many do. It’s also just hilarious. (Is it, actually, or am I just a hopeless nerd? Someone please confirm.)

I don’t really know how this turned into a semi-serious post when I meant to just write about memes, but whoever is responsible for these accounts, please don’t stop. You are doing hero’s work.

Gatorade Powder

By: Sue Ann

I don’t like drinking plain water. There has to be some extra flavor.

Hence, I love sparkling water because there’s that extra fizz. Crystal Light and MiO Energy are also great water enhancers. I mean who can say no to caffeine + flavor?

A great “discovery” of mine is gatorade powder. Before you go and look for it in the aisle of CVS, I’ll save you the time by telling you this: you won’t find it there.

I heard about gatorade powder this summer when my friend who also likes water enhancers said that gatorade had its own water enhancers. Honestly, I found it hard to believe because gatorade is sold so widely in stores that it’s an easy pick-me-up.

To my dismay, I looked up gatorade powder on Amazon(I gotta say I’m Queen of the Amazon based on the number of packages I order) and found that it did indeed exist. When I purchased it, I expected it to be a mini can of powder. Boy was I wrong. The powder game in a ginormous can. Picture a huge paint can that contains practically enough paint to color your entire apartment.

It’s really the best because I don’t need to spend $3 on gatorade at CVS anymore. The homemade Sue Ann style gatorade is great!

Horse Betting at the Belmont Stakes

By: Sue Ann

Growing up, I had a super outdoorsy dad who refused to stay home on Saturdays. He was the polar opposite of my mom, who would much rather take nap after nap on the couch. So, we always went somewhere, whether it be the driving range for golf, camping grounds, beach, etc.

One of the fondest memories I have of my dad is going to horse races with him. I was a 5-year-old growing up in Del Mar, CA. July – Sept was horse race season, which meant we frequented the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club during those months.

At the age of 5, I didn’t understand the concept of horse betting. I thought people went to horse races just to watch the horses move at the speed of lightning.

This past weekend at the Belmont Stakes, I learned about horse betting. Unlike when you watching sports where there’s a House to bet against such as Vegas, there is no House in Horse betting. In other words, it’s pari-mutuel. You can do a whole bunch of research on the odds of each horse winning only to find that the odds have changed by the time you get to the machines.

At the Belmont Stakes, Horses 9 and 10, War of Will and Tacitus, respectively, were the top two horses favored to place. To everyone’s dismay, neither horse placed first. Rather, it was Horse 7, Sir Winston, who won. When I saw Horse 7 win, it made me think back to tae conversation I had with a guy standing in line at the betting machine. He said that he’d been to multiple races and at each race, he picked Horses 1, 4, and 7 and then boxed them. Horses 1, 4, and 7 were safe selections since they were spread apart and then the boxing them means that it doesn’t matter which horse places 1st, 2nd, and 3rd as long as you pick out the top three.

Honestly, I didn’t really understand what the guy was saying because I’m a newb at horse betting and he seemed like a veteran. Everyone at the horse race was so nice about explaining how betting horses worked and how to use the machines.

After doing some research, I think I kind of understand what people were trying to tell me . . .

Exacta: Pick out the top two horses (order matters)

Exacta Box: Select the top two horses (order of 1st and 2nd doesn’t matter)

Trifecta: Choose the top three horses (order matters)

Trifecta Box: Pick out the top three horses (order of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd doesn’t matter)

Superfecta: Choose the top four horses (order matters)

And . . . there’s so many other terms I don’t understand, haha. But the point is that the longer the odds, the greater the payoff if the horse wins.

Armored with more horse betting knowledge, I’ll probably do lots of research before heading to the tracks next year.

Office Life and Other Thoughts

By: Juliet Godwin

I’ve never worked in an office before. My only frames of reference for such ecosystems are the times I went to work with my dad as a kid and various T.V. shows. Neither of those gave me any idea of what a small, open office of a few people who all know each other might be like. I like the quiet calm of people who all know each other and are united by a common purpose – one that you know is being accomplished when you hear the tapping of multiple keyboards at once – occasionally punctuated by an outburst of joy or frustration at what really could be just about anything.

Going to work in the morning, I enjoy feeling like part of the massive network of New York City commuters on the subway. I have always been a part of the city – I’ve lived here my entire life – but the feeling of commiseration on the crowded subway on the way in and even on the way out is something else. I felt it a little bit when I took the train to and from school, but it was different then. Even though it obviously isn’t true, I imagine that every person on the train with me is on their way to work.

Ironically, I still look like a student on my way to school. I dress casually and wear a backpack. Thank God I don’t have to dress formally, but that common feeling is diminished in my mind when I see myself in the windows of stores I walk past. I would stop using my backpack, but it truly is the most effective way of carrying my stuff. I don’t mind all that much. After all, being a student is still most of what I do.

Venturing Outside of Manhattan: Brooklyn Botanic Garden

By: Sue Ann

Nature photographs taken at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

A few months ago, my boyfriend Zak and I purchased a Top 100 Movies poster to watch. The purpose of the poster was to watch the movies in order to be more engaged in conversations since lines from the movies were commonly referenced in pop culture.

And then the poster obsession started. . . I wanted to get a Top 100 Things to Do poster, so I did.

Memorial Day was a beautiful, sunny day, so we decided to scratch off a somewhat “outdoorsy” activity from the poster. To be honest, if it weren’t a suggestion from the poster, the Botanic Garden wouldn’t have been a trip I’d taken on Monday. I haven’t been to a Botanic Garden since the 9th grade, when I interned at a Horticulture Center and realized my future wasn’t in transplanting and Farmers Markets.

Growing up, I was the kind of kid whose eyes glazed over captions and plaques in museums and informative centers. This time around at the Botanic Garden though, I didn’t brush hastily past all the signs and learned some key points.

For instance, did you know that you can hear corn grow? There was a microphone set up at the Botanic Garden so visitors could put their ears up against the microphones and hear the sounds emitted by corn stalks.

As for asparagus. . . their beds can last for up to 25 years! The downside is that it can take a couple years to get them started properly planted.

Point is, it’s nice to venture outside of Manhattan and try new activities I wouldn’t have thought of. Sure, it’s nice to go to take a trip to the beach or just stay home and watch a movie, but sometimes it’s nice to “revisit one’s childhood activities.”

Mornings

Remember last post from the top of bunk bed?

Well, it’s been five days since I moved into an apartment. Yes, totally ecstatic being barefoot and reading in the silence of a morning.

Coming from the family of seven, I have never really got a chance to live on my own. Not even when I moved to Nebraska. It’s not that I don’t like living with people. On the contrary, I enjoy it. But there is something indescribably magical in the solitary life.

Like.. I am a morning person. No, I don’t turn into a morning monster whose hair go up at the sight of a fellow human being, but I appreciate the quiet atmosphere of the pre-dawn time.

It’s soundlessly still, even the sunrise tip-toes into your window, yawning on its way. You can really hear the sound of water filling a mug, you can hear the sound of a turning page, you can live in a page without the outside world for a while.

Well, there is a lot to say about mornings. But I will stop here.

Have a great day and mornings, Gotham folks!