today’s five: MEMORIES FROM UNION UNIVERSITY
Since I spent yesterday wandering around Union’s campus, meeting with old professors and coworkers and generally immersing myself into nostalgia, this topic seemed obvious!
1| creating a Condoleezza Rice greeting dance for the 2009 Scholarship Banquet
I worked as a student aid at the Alumni Office for three years, and our biggest event was the yearly Scholarship Banquet. Each fall someone famous came to speak to people who paid thousands of dollars for the privilege of participating….and me, a lowly aid, who went for free. I would get dressed up (in the same black-and-white dress each year), go early to set up, and direct rich people around before getting my picture taken with the Famous Person. One year Peyton Manning came to speak, and I walked him backstage with my boss. He tripped on the stairs in front of me, and the enormous joy I felt from having better balance in heels than a millionaire football superstar was overwhelming.
But this is about Condoleezza Rice. My senior year, I managed to get a job at the Alumni Office for my friend Stephanie. At the Scholarship Banquet that year, we were assigned the task of greeting the U.S. Secretary of State at the door and escorting her to a particular room. This job involved waiting for at least half an hour, so naturally Stephanie and I made up a dance with which to greet her. There was a lot of spinning and 8-counts involved. We were in the middle of rehearsing it when her security opened the door, so we scurried into professionalism just in time to shake her hand and walk her where she needed to go.
2| staying up all night because we got an unprecedented foot of snow
Union is in Tennessee, so meaningful snowfall is rare. But one glorious night in 2009, it started to snow. A lot. My roommates went outside to make a snowman, but I thought they were exaggerating. They didn’t know real snow, my Illinois brain scoffed. But when they came in covered in white and urged me to join them, I put on boots, scarf, and coat, and walked out to see the dark campus covered in beautiful white snow. Whitney, Josephine, and I walked along the sidewalks, taking everything in and singing Christmas songs loudly at the top of our lungs. I miss the confidence of college when I assumed that everyone around us was delighted by our impromptu performance.
Almost as soon as we returned to our dorm, I got a call from some other friends saying I should join them for a snow party. We made snow angels, jumped off of things, and had an epic snowball fight. Eventually we were all soaked through, so we just collapsed in the snow for pictures.
3| waking up at 3:00 to see a meteor shower
I think also in 2009 (that was a really good year), my friends planned a stargazing party. There was supposed to be a huge meteor shower one night, so we all woke up at 3:00 a.m. to drive to someone’s Sunday School teacher’s house in the country. There were about ten of us, so we spread out lots of blankets, curled into our coats, and settled into the warmth. Most of us fell asleep a couple times, because it was sleep o’clock. But it was so fun to be curled together with friends, pointing up at the sky as things began to happen. I pretended to see the first few shooting stars, and I was beginning to lose hope that I would participate in the experience, but then I saw one. And another. By morning light, I’d seen the first seven shooting stars of my life.
4| extravagant birthdays in the Craig 3 dorm
I had the best luck in the world, because the three roommates I was assigned freshman year became fast friends. We were over-excited and eager to befriend new people, celebrate “independence,” and play house in a school dorm/apartment. That first year, our birthdays were crazy extravagant. Check out this picture of Whitney’s haul.
For my birthday, the roomies all pitched in and bought a life-size cardboard cut-out of Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They put him in my room while I was in class (along with a bunch of balloons decorated with compliments like “I love your Yankee/Southern accent”) and when I opened the door to see a man in a trenchcoat, I screamed. Then I realized what he was, and I screamed again, but in delight.
5| Christmas in Craig 3
In a similar vein, I’m also very fond of the way we celebrated holidays. Our sophomore year, we were down to just three of the four of us, with one empty bedroom. For Christmas, we decorated Edgar the Plant as our Christmas tree, dressed in green and red, and gave each other enormous amounts of Dollar Store gifts. We decorated with the leftovers our families didn’t want, so we had one horrifying Santa gnome that would be hidden around the dorm to terrify each other. He is not pictured here, for your own good.
I had such a wonderful 3 1/2 years at Union University. I made some great friends, did some dumb things, and made some fantastic memories. I loved getting to think back on some for this post!