Going somewhere? Didn’t think so

Have I ever expressed my extreme dislike for cigarettes?

…no?

Here we go.

Welcome to St. Bonaventure University, a beautiful campus with mountain views and historic buildings.

Friars walk around in their habits, smiling lazily as students scurry to class. You might even spot Sister Margaret if you’re lucky.

Oh, you’ll smell fresh air, sure. But you sure as hell will smell cigarette smoke, too.

Walk out of Shay/Loughlen Hall and smokers are hanging out on the stoop. Walk to class and find smoke from a cigarette in front of you trailing back to your nostrils. Try not to breathe as you walk through the midday clusterfuck in front of Plassmann Hall.

One thing I learned during my freshman year at SBU is that I despise  – no, loathe – the foul emissions from cigarettes.

My next door neighbor was the door to the staircase leading to the emergency exit. Smoke would float up through my window and fill my room from kids standing on the back stoop. My R.D. yelled at the smokers and forbade them from doing so again. As soon as he left his post halfway through the second semester, they assumed their post once again. It pissed me off but I didn’t have the balls to tell them to knock it off. (That’s unlike me, I know, but I don’t want to commonly be known as a snitch.)

The stench gives me a headache. I increased my self-prescribed dosage of pain relievers just to get through classes and homework.

Smoking, to me, is an instant turn-off. Gorgeous girls aren’t so gorgeous anymore when they pull out the stick and take a puff. For guys, it’s the same. They’re on their way to that scratchy, chain-smoker voice. Tell me an attractive girl is still attractive when she starts talking and sounds like this, if not a little more extreme:

You can’t. Estelle’s not attractive. Hilarious, but not attractive.

And could someone please tell me why why WHY so many people in my generation are even smoking in the first place? These commercials scare the absolute shit out of me*:

The health risks are now apparent.

When you do drugs, you get high. When you drink, you get drunk. When you smoke cigarettes… question mark?

There are mounds of evidence that suggest a child who grows up in a smoking family is more likely to pick up the habit and carry it into adulthood. I am very fortunate to have grown up in a non-smoking family. Any temptation I may have had to pick up the pack of cigarettes on the kitchen table never existed. My parents made it hard for us to even consider   smoking cigarettes.

…not that I could afford it if I wanted to. How other college students can support their habit is beyond me. I’m working my ass off just to keep my head above water.

It’s terrible to stereotype, but I do. I think differently of people after discovering that he/she smokes. Sometimes I can get  past it, but other times I really, really can’t.

I can’t wait to go back to school and have a headache every day.

*I couldn’t find any of the ones I actually see on TV, but I feel this Australian one is effective enough.

Giant flip flops

I just tossed and turned for over half an hour. On nights like these, I tend to get out of bed and do something somewhat useful while my eyes are open. Why waste perfectly good time?

I read for a little while until the clock’s proclaimed time of 1:00 a.m. alarmed me. I should be sleeping, I thought. So I tried. I lay there, changing positions, switching arms, fluffing up my pillows.

Smoke wafted in through my open window. I fight the urge to scream out my window every time I smell it. Before our old R.D. left, people were not allowed to smoke outside on the stoop outside my window. Now that he’s gone, they don’t seem to care anymore. Sometimes marijuana floats up and into my lungs. I’m left with a headache and the prompt to deliver a nice “fuck you.”

I got up and shut my window, stifling the scream I wanted so badly to shriek. I heard the outside door open and close. Footsteps up the stairs next to my room followed. I opened my window again.

It’s quarter to 2:00. I haven’t seen this hour since Easter break. I spent all day today (technically yesterday) studying and stressing about statistics. It struck me as funny that, though I loathe statistics, I obsess over viewing “My Stats” on my blog.

On a different note, I squashed an ant today. It approached my foot, so I squished it. I heard it crackle under my grey flip flop. To my surprise, it scurried away as soon as I lifted my foot. It looked damaged, sure, but it still managed to get away from me and further harm.

I yearn to have the resilience of that ant. It sounds silly, but I gave it a lot of credit for carrying on. Too many people give up after little things. At least we never have to deal with getting crushed by a giant flip flop.

 

An opportunity. Are you in?

CLICK HERE.

Did you click it?

Let’s do something like it.

Let’s compile a small group of us to contribute to one specific weblog. We’ll either call it Convex or Bona Fide (I haven’t gotten there quite yet). We’ll write stories that students at Bonaventure  – and around the world – will actually care about. We’ll be credible and smart. Everyone will want to read what we write. We will go more in-depth with certain topics and be more frivolous about others. We’re not going to be strictly Bonaventure, and we’re not going to be strictly news. We’re just going to be something new. The world of news is evolving and we need to keep up with it.

Current ideas:

  • Satirical pieces
  • Personal reflections
  • Profiles of people on campus (professors; friars; anyone interesting)
  • In-depth news stories full of cold, hard facts (these will require a ton of research – are you game?)
  • Creative pieces
  • Creative videos

We’re going to appeal to majors other than journalism and have staffers who aren’t even close to being journalism majors.

If you’re interested, I ask you these questions:

  • Do you have blogging experience?
  • What can you bring to the table?
  • Have you seen any holes in current campus media that we could potentially fill?
  • What is your major (the more diversity, the better!)?
  • Would you be willing to take part in this project before on-campus internship hours are approved and granted?

This is serious. Let’s take advantage of this small university that lets students with dreams and ideas create their own things.

Laurel Editors-in-Chief make a statement

My brother graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2009. After the ceremony in the Reilly Center Arena, graduates, families and professors congregated outside on the lawn adjacent to the R.C. Cameras clicked, family members smiled, hands were shaken.

As a freshman at SBU, I am under the impression that this photo-op on the aforementioned lawn is a traditional end to graduation.

Here's an ad my brother created for his senior capstone project, featuring the lawn next to the R.C.

Now the lawn is muddy. Shovels have prodded the land, marking an ‘X’ for the new business building (due here in 2013… yeah right!). By the time 2015 rolls around, post-graduation photos will be shot elsewhere, or feature a modern building as a backdrop (modern is very unlike Bonaventure).

It’s not so much the end of the photo tradition. It’s about the view beyond. The mountain view just beyond the athletic fields is spectacular. So much so that, here on campus, a Save The View! campaign erupted in an attempt to, well, save the view. Petitions were passed. A Facebook page was created. Articles in The Bona Venture and The Intrepid ran. Some people agreed with the petitioners, others believed the Save The View! cause to be futile. The topic resulted in arguments on social networking sites, mainly on Facebook via The BonaMemes page (after someone posted my brother’s “ad” and someone commented about losing that view). Things became heated. People asked for your opinion on the topic like they would about worldwide controversies like abortion.

Students, alumni and board members who support the location of the new business building, and tell opposers to shut up, need to realize the real reasons behind the opposition. For most, it isn’t personal. If you had paid attention in The Intellectual Journey (the class we are all forced to take), you would understand Bonaventure’s deep connection with nature. There’s a whole step in the required $150 textbook titled “Imaginative Perspectives On The Natural World.” But even before that step, Colinvaux’s “The Succession Affair” and Leopold’s “Reading The Forest Landscape” are featured. St. Bonaventure modeled himself after St. Francis, who was known for his love of animals. Francis loved nature, and since so many pieces at St. Bonaventure University are attributed to St. Francis (Clare College, Francis Hall, La Verna [Alverno], Damietta Center), the university should respect those values. It’s insulting to the university to build an edifice that will block what people love most about Bonaventure. Merton’s Heart will no longer be visible from the sidewalk, and the view that soothes students studying in the library on the quiet floor will shift to one that might stress them out more.

I’m not Catholic, but I believe the values of the university should be preserved. When you go to a university that has its own mountain retreat (Mount Irenaeus), a place where students can escape stress by embracing nature, it should be expected that the little breath of fresh air on campus, such as a pleasant mountain view, would be a little more important.

It’s been awhile since I have heard anything about Save The View! on campus. Ground has been broken for the William E. and Ann L. Swan Business Center (named after its benefactors, of course) and students just have to sit tight and watch the building rise from the ground and slowly block more and more of the precious view.

The Laurel

That being said, The Laurel, St. Bonaventure’s semesterly published literary magazine, came out yesterday (April 30). I skimmed through it. If words caught my eye or if I recognized an author, I viewed his/her creative work. Long poems scare me, so I steered clear of them. Today I decided to give the longer poems a chance.

The first one completely blew me away.

The poem, titled “Swan Song” is deep, chock full of every poetic device known to man and brings up the Save The View! issue once again, this time in a more sad, defeated way. It begins with two quotes: one from Gerard Manley Hopkins and the other from Thomas Merton; Hopkins’s taken directly from that $150 Intellectual Journey textbook I mentioned before.

The rest of the poem is ballsy. Pat Hosken, the author and a member of SBU’s Class of 2012 (not to mention a personal friend to my brother and me), did his research. Anyone without prior knowledge of St. Bonaventure or the business building issue would have no idea what his poem means.

Right off the bat, the title has a meaning. The business building bears the name “Swan,” named after the couple providing funds for the building. A “swan song” is defined as a person’s final performance. Hosken’s last big performance in The Laurel is with “Swan Song.” It’s a lucky coincidence that the building it’s about will be named “Swan.”

Hosken uses personification for the lawn: “O Hallowed Ground! Your muddy surface tells / of your vast desecration and your pain. / The diggers come with claws to scratch your skin” … “and once you’ve been reduced to soggy mush, / they build a monolith upon your back.” The words “desecration” and “monolith” help set the tone of the poem. Hosken clearly dislikes the soon-to-be business building and its location.

Two of my favorite lines of his entire poem fall in the first stanza, directly after mentioning the monolith, Hosken writes, “vile villains will an urge to steal a view / and lock it in a chamber of commerce.” Hosken’s word choice is impeccable. The chamber of commerce (business) is literally a chamber, holding the view hostage.

Hosken turns the swan into a monster. “The monolith named for a delicate bird / turned mad by greed and violent now, complete / with a beak that pecks and tears out gazers’ eyes.” He calls the money donated “dirty” and reflects on Bonaventure’s past with names of those who came before us and saw inspiration in the view’s beauty. Then he ventures inside the new business building.

“Nature is but a painting on the wall, / an oil-on-canvas dangling from a string / to decorate a barren office space,” Hosken writes. So, basically, those who work in the building that ruins the view for others on campus have the privilege to sit in their respective offices and enjoy said view. To them, it’ll simply be a painting on the wall that is taken for granted.

Hosken then reflects on his own experience with the view. Maybe his Intellectual Journey professor moved class outside like mine often does and that’s where he first heard the work of Gerard Manley Hopkins. Maybe the mountains inspired him to write and that’s why he decided to add a major in English on top of his journalism/mass communication one. No matter what the reason, Hosken makes sure the reader knows that crushing the view is a personal letdown to him.

“Father Gerard,” as Hosken refers to Hopkins (whoa, their last names are eerily similar!), makes an appearance in another favorite line of mine: “Or you, solemn foot-fields where numerous / generations have traipsed, have tramped, have trod.” His use of alliteration can be accredited to Hopkins, who used the same sort of alliteration in his poem “God’s Grandeur,” with the same effect. Hosken writes, in his second-to-last stanza: “I won’t forget the seconds I have spent / with all the pied beauty of this fair place, / and though we can’t return to what we know, / and though we’ll long for open fields and lawn / and see atrocious squares of grey instead” … “we take our forest with us in our minds.”

Hosken’s words are beautiful. The first few pages of the Spring 2012 issue of The Laurel should not be overlooked. They will forever be documented in The Laurel‘s extensive archives. Hosken, along with comrade Chris Radey, made sure they went out with a bang for their last issue of The Laurel as Editors-in-Chief.

They took a risk. Hopefully reverberations will be heard for years to come.

Their effort thoroughly impressed me. It should impress you, too.

And now, for your reading pleasure, the first few pages of  The Laurel.




The new school of business claims to be "Bullish on business."

That flew

It’s starting to sink in.

My freshman year of college meets its conclusion in less than two weeks. That flew.

“You told me in August that this year would fly by, and I didn’t believe you,” Robby told me last night. I probably didn’t believe myself. I probably only said that to make him feel better. It did fly. It flew.

Yesterday I was asked if my freshman year fell short or met my expectations. I paused, thinking about it. 

I told the interrogator that it fell a little short socially, but academically, it fell right where I expected. I invested my time into a friendship that packed up and left before the start of this semester. That was hard. Having problems with the cross-country team were completely unexpected, too. I never dreamed of the drama that would ensue.

Being home will be a breath of fresh air for me, though it will be weird to leave this place. I’ve made some very good friends on my floor and can’t imagine walking through it next year and seeing different people living in rooms I know.

My goodness how the time has flewn, how did it get so late so soon?

 

 

Some people are fantastic

Want to know one of the things I like most about St. Bonaventure University? It’s the bells that are played from the University chapel every evening. We are usually out in the field or outside somewhere for practice and I almost always get to hear them. They are beautiful and make me feel at peace. I hear those bells and know I belong here.

Want to know one of the things I hate most about St. Bonaventure University? It’s the people, as usual. Some of them are fantastic. Others are not. I have found that there are idiots everywhere. I will never be in a complete idiot-free zone. I am a girl who constantly expects too much of people and then I get severely disappointed. We peer edited papers in Comp. & Crit. yesterday and some papers had the wrong form of “there” or used “then” instead of “than.” I thought that these basic writing errors would be left behind in the high school hallways and classrooms.

I lost my faith in my classmates that day. Maybe they can rebuild it over the next four years that we will be together. Guess we’ll see.

Another great thing about Bonaventure is my work study. My job. It’s fantastic. I get paid to sit at a computer in the dean’s secretary’s office and design things on the computer (and it’s an iMac, too so there’s another plus!). I get paid to fetch papers from the printer and empty the coffee pots. It’s the easiest job and I enjoy it so much. I sit there and get the inside scoop of what’s going on with what professor and even have intelligent conversations with people that know what they are talking about. Got my dream job. I’m set for four years.

I have practice soon and then I’m going home! I’m going to load Bubbles up with some things I’ve found I don’t need here and come back Sunday refreshed from a night in my own bed in my own room.

Bye, Bonas!