by CJ Reddick
This is my blog for junior year!
|Hello, everyone! It's me! Do you remember me? I doubt it, lol. Well, after YEARS of promising to write an update, I've finally felt that I'm in a place where I can provide an accurate one. Let me start by saying that I miss all of my WDC dearly, and wish I had more time for writing for myself. But, I'm doing a lot with college. I'm going to try to give you a crash course on everything important, but know that it's hard to shove two years into one blog entry, and it's my own darn fault for not updating you more sooner. I'll start from where we last left off, and move from there.
So, it's summer 2016 and I'm about to go to college in Wisconsin, right on Lake Michigan (and by right on, I mean right on as in I'm literally looking at the lake as I'm writing this). I find out my questionnaire-assigned roommate's name is Jonah, and he seems like a pretty cool guy. We're living in the Oaks, which, at the time, was the nicest living option on campus. Essentially, Jonah and I each have our room which is connected by a small antechamber that connects to a private bathroom. And it's air conditioned (hallelujah). So, school starts and it turns out Jonah has some friends from high school that came here as well, Katie and Olivia. The four of us start hanging out and I become fast friends with Katie and Olivia. At the time, I was also crushing on Katie, which was eventually reciprocated (first kiss first relationship ). However, that ended about two weeks after it began because Katie realized she was essentially (though she denies it to this day) using me as a rebound from her high school boyfriend. In hindsight, Olivia did tell me to be careful because they had just broken up, but I was too enamored by the prospect of someone actually liking me back to care. So, (first breakup ) things were a bit awkward after that, but we eventually decided to remain friends and everything was mostly back to normal. Over time, Jonah started to withdraw into his own room, which I hated. He has severe anxiety, combined with being a gamer, and apparently not liking me very much (the feeling was reciprocated by the end of the year), caused him to basically drop out of my life aside from the fact that we were sleeping in rooms adjacent to each other. Despite this, I remained very close friends with Katie and Olivia, and they're still some of my best friends to this day. For the record, Jonah also withdrew from Katie and Olivia's lives, although he does occasionally meet up with them. I'm not invited.
So, I started to figure out that I didn't want to room with Jonah, so I went on the hunt for a new roommate. Enter Mark. Mark was two years older than me, a trumpet player in the wind orchestra, and super nice. He invited me to hang out with him and his friends (I was super excited about this) and soon it got to the point where I would go over to his room a lot. Mark even agreed to be my roommate the following year. Unfortunately, I was just so excited at having guy friends (a rarity for me), that I came on too strong too fast. Mark suddenly "accidentally" blocked me on social media, and when I confronted him about it he told me it was a glitch. After about a week of agonizing worry, I was told by his friend that Mark didn't think I was a bad person, he just thought I was creepy and would rather not be around me. It's still painful for me to think about that, honestly, and those words haunt me to this day. I never got real closure with that situation. I never got to apologize for apparently being creepy, or talk to Mark ever again, actually. He just dropped out of my life, which was devastating at the time.
So, right after all of that, it's beginning of second semester, and I am feeling very lonely. I have Katie and Olivia still, but I want more friends. I hear about Lambda Kappa, the local music co-ed fraternity. At the encouragement of several members of the music department, I decide to join. It was an awesome experience that I unfortunately can't tell you too much about cause, you know, secrecy and stuff, but it was a great decision. Through Lambda Kappa, I've met a lot of good friends, including Darien, Lihannah, Daniel, and Nathan (all of whom are probably going to show up later in the story). During the pledging process, I got pretty close with a girl named Darien. I could tell I was going to be friends with her right away because (small disclosure) there were some blindfolds at one point and we were organized by alphabetical order and she was right next to me and I brushed against her and went "What is that?" and she said "It's a Darien!" and that was the first time I met her and that's very in line with my sense of humor. We got to know each other more, and she introduced me to a lot of her friends including Daniel (same one mentioned earlier) and Josh. Darien is a music theatre and music education double major, so she's involved in the theatre department a lot. Becoming friends with her reintroduced me to the world of music theatre. I was a music theatre kid when I was in elementary and middle school, but dropped it in high school after my voice changed. Darien updated me on a bunch of musicals, and reawakened the music theatre kid in me. I still can't sing, but I greatly appreciate theatre in all its forms. Josh is a theatre kid too, so I get to talk about theatre with him a lot as well. This had another effect which I'll get to.
So, I make it through all of the pledging processes in Lambda Kappa and get inducted as a full-fledged member, and it's awesome. However, I have another problem, this one academic. At this time, I was an English major with an emphasis in creative writing (obviously), a Classical Studies minor (so Greece/Rome stuff), and a Core Music major. Here's the problem I was facing: a Core Music major is kind of boring. It's not bad, per say, but it's kind of like a cheese pizza. There aren't many Core Music majors in the music department, most have an emphasis like Performance or Pedagogy or Education or Theatre or something. However, me with my flute, these aren't really options for me. I'm still not a very good flute player comparatively to other people my level. This probably has something to do with me not practicing as much as I should, do to a combination of business from other areas of study and laziness. I've sort of accepted it at this point, but that rules out the Performance option. Pedagogy is only for pianists. Education and Theatre both require way more classes that would cause me to have to give up my English major, which I refuse to do, so I'm left with only two options. I can either remain a Core Music major, or try my hand at Composition. There aren't a lot of Composition emphases at my school; it's a self-designed emphasis which means that there's no official track. You just meet with the music theory/composition professor and he has a basic set list of class you do. So, I decided to try this. I met with him, and he told me that I needed to take Music Theory I before he'd allow me to be a composer. Normally, that wouldn't have been a problem, but my first year advisor messed up my schedule so I was actually a year behind all the other music students. I had to take freshman classes as a sophomore. Which propels us into my second year at college. Nothing important happened over the summer, really.
So, after the whole Mark debacle, I was left without a roommate for the coming year (I had told Jonah I had found a roommate and by the time Mark "dumped" me, he had found a new one as well). So, I signed up for another Oaks room by myself. However, this time, I signed up for one with no dividing wall. Just a room with two beds, a bathroom, and air conditioning. Typically, if you have no roommate, they assign you one. What happened with me is a guy signed up for the other bed in my room (without my permission) and he became my new roommate. His name was Jesus. He asked me to call him Jesus, as in Jesus Christ. Things seemed like they would be okay, maybe. He seemed nice enough. I even bought a futon for the room. Boy, was I wrong.
I am a messy person. I've worked on it, but it's just part of who I am. Jesus is a complete controlling clean freak. So, we got into a lot of arguments about cleanliness. But that's not where it ends. Jesus tried to control my entire life, essentially. He tried to get me to stop being friends with Katie and Olivia, introduced me to his friends, basically told me what I should do and how I should do it. I did not take that well. Once, I was doing homework in the room and he was blaring music. I asked him if he could turn it off or put headphones in AND HE SAID NO. He said if I wanted to do homework, I could go to the lounge, but the room was a place for fun. This did not sit well with me. So, I got my revenge that night. I am a night owl, and I got back to the room at like midnight. Jesus was asleep. I still needed to do my homework, so I turned on the light and started doing it. For an extra touch, I munched on pita chips. He got very angry and I told him since I didn't get my homework done earlier, I needed to do it now. He said that if I wanted to play that game he would, and he got up and started playing loud music, including mariachi music. However, I was still able to fall asleep, or at least rest with my eyes closed until he saw the loud music thing wasn't working and gave up and went to bed. The next day, we had a roommate mediation with an RA (horrible idea), and we agreed as part of our new rules that we wouldn't speak to each other. It was the best week of living with him I had.
Parallel to this, I'm making a new friend. Above, I mentioned Lihannah, one of my friends from Lambda Kappa. Well, she is late to everything and very busy. One day, I see her hanging out with a new guy I've never seen before. I go up and say hi, because being friends with Lihannah is a nice way to meet people. She introduces this new guy as Chance, a guy she met at Intervarsity. Chance seems like a really cool guy, and I hang out with them for a while. Then, the next day, I see Lihannah and Chance again. I find out that she set up a time to meet him again the next day, and actually made it early to see him. This is INCREDIBLY unusual for her. So, I start to know something's up. Sure enough, a romance is blossoming between the two, which I'm incredibly happy for. However, my anxiety got the better of me. See, Chance is a really good guy, and I really wanted to be friends with him. But, I was still shaken over the whole Mark thing, so I didn't know how best to do it. I would work myself up into anxiety attacks about it, but then, one day, I'm eating lunch with Katie and Olivia and who should walk over but Chance, and he asks me for my phone number so we could hang out. I've only ever had someone ask me for my phone number once before. Usually, I'm the one that has to ask. I was so happy that he took the initiative to ask me. We ended up becoming really good friends, for a number of reasons. One of which was we discovered that we had both had Jesus as a roommate. He knew I hated my roommate and that he played mariachi music, which gave him clues. but one day Jesus came into the student union and I said "Ugh, there he is" and Chance was like "Jesus is your roommate? He was my roommate last year!" and so we were able to bond over our shared experience of living with him. Also, I helped "negotiate" (for lack of a better term) his relationship with Lihannah. Chance had never been in a relationship before, and Lihannah had some reservations about dating him, but I acted kind of as an envoy. Essentially, I made sure that neither was flying in blind, and reassured them that they were both interested in each other, helped talk Lihannah through her reservations about dating Chance, and told Chance when she was ready to be asked out. They're still together, and it seems like they're a forever match, but, even if they aren't, I'm going to treasure that experience for the rest of my life, because it made them both so happy.
Back to Jesus. Things got worse and worse, 'til eventually I discovered him keeping alcohol in the room. Actually, Olivia discovered it. He had put it in a trash can in the corner that you had to step on to open the lid. So, the rule on campus with alcohol is that if it's in your room, even if you didn't know it was there, you get in trouble. This was too much for me. He had promised he wouldn't keep any in the room, and I became a nervous wreck all of the time. Eventually, I decided to report him and hope I wouldn't get in trouble because I reported it. The housing staff pressured me into not officially reporting it. The lady told me that I could report it, but my name would go down as the person who reported it, and they can't kick a person out of a room unless they physically harm their roommate, and so I'd be stuck with him. She suggested instead that I talk to him about it and ask him to remove it. I thought this was a horrible idea, but I agreed to do it because she made it sound like the better option. Long story short, that conversation ended with me sleeping in the student union because I didn't feel safe. The next day, that same lady put me in an "emergency room" in the basement of one of the cheaper, non-air conditioned dorms. After some hassling, I ended up staying there for the rest of the year. It wasn't air conditioned, but it was one of the few traditional dorm rooms that had a bathroom in it, so I couldn't complain too much. I moved my stuff out (bonus points for Jesus's reaction when he found out Chance and I were friends) and didn't have a roommate for most of the rest of the semester.
However, towards the end of the semester, I received an email from a guy named David saying that he needed to move rooms because his roommate snored so loudly he couldn't sleep. I was sympathetic, and met with him. We compared sleep schedules and I decided that it probably wouldn't be the best fit, and he said that I was only the first person he tried, and so he would try others. Three days later, I get an email from that same housing lady. They're emergency moving David into my room because I'm the closest to his original room. This made me very angry because they were unable to do that for me, they had sent me on an odyssey to obtain a guy's permission to move into his room, and after my express dispermission they move a guy into my room. So, I wasn't very happy, but I determined to make the most of it. David and I actually ended up getting along really well, and I'd probably still be rooming with him if they hadn't built the Tower. The Tower is the newest living option on campus. It's an eight story building with air conditioning and rooms that have two beds and then a bathroom connecting it to another room with two beds. The Tower also has kitchens, a first on campus. I decided I wanted to move into the Tower, but David decided he wanted to live in a split Oaks so that he could sleep when he wanted without interrupting his roommate or vice versa. So, we parted ways on good terms. I managed to find another roommate from Lambda Kappa named Nathan, and hopefully he and I do well together. I think we will. We don't know the guys in the other room, but one of them moves in soon.
Back to composition. After Music Theory I, I enrolled in composition classes with the composition professor. I wrote a flute-piano piece and a flute-bassoon piece, and the professor says that I am very good. I actually ended up performing the flute-piano piece for my end of the year jury (check to make sure I'm still good at music). All of the faculty loved my piece, especially my flute professor. So, I am safely a composition emphasis now. I'm even composing incidental music for the college's fall production of Ajax by Sophocles. I'm super excited and I don't feel like a cheese pizza anymore!
So, there are two things left to talk about from sophomore year. First of all, Lambda Kappa elections, I decided I really wanted to be First Vice President of Lambda Kappa, and so I started preparing myself to do so. Everyone told me that they thought another guy named Eric was going to win, and I was somewhat discouraged. However, I still did everything I could to prepare. I shadowed the current First VP, went to eBoard meetings, did everything I was allowed to do to obtain information. Eric did none of that. I memorized a speech and put on a suit. Eric did none of that. And, when elections came, who won? Eric. Because, you know, that's how life goes. Now, I'm sure Eric will do fine except for one thing that really bugs me. Eric has, not once, but twice missed the most important initiation ritual that Lambda Kappa does, which is presided over by the First VP. He's missed it to do Drum Corps stuff. He's planning on doing Drum Corps stuff again this year. Do you see the problem? Darien also ran for first VP, and I would've much rather she got it. She attended the meetings and stuff too. She deserved it. Eric didn't. But, you know, popularity. But that's not where the election troubles for me end. Elections are trickle down, so if I was nominated for First VP (I was) I am also allowed to run for any position below First VP. So, I also ran for Secretary. That went to Darien, and I'm happy for her, but I would've loved to have been that too. Then, I ran for Treasurer. Lost that too. Then, I ran for Public Relations Chair. Lost that too. Then, I ran for Usher Chair. Lost that to Lihannah, and I'm very happy for her because it was her last chance to be on eBoard and she got it. But, you know, I would've liked to have been on eBoard. I ran for 5/9 positions, and lost every single one. Apparently most of them were close. I wouldn't know because the results aren't shown to the candidates, but that's what my friends say. But that was absolutely devastating to the point where I thought about dropping out of Lambda Kappa. I felt so disliked. I asked like seven different people why they thought I didn't do well and they all said the same thing: I'm too negative. Well, I have another chance next year, and I am going to run for President. I'm working on becoming positive. This is partially motivated out of spite, but if it makes me positive, whatever works.
The other thing left about sophomore year: Sigma Tau Delta. So, I joined Sigma Tau Delta, the honors English fraternity. As it happens, there are 3 eBoard positions, and 3 regularly attending members eligible. I became good friends with the other two members, and between the three of us we chose which positions we wanted. So I am President of Sigma Tau Delta, English honors fraternity now. Sigma Tau Delta (or STD, as we call it) has kind of had a burning of the library of Alexandria in recent years, and most knowledge and prominence has been lost. I'm working with my fellow eBoard members to remedy that. We're already making advances, figuring things out ourselves (I discovered a lost 2000 dollars that the previous president didn't know we had). We're also recording everything that we do in a document, so future eBoards won't have to relearn everything without a guide. This is extremely beneficial to me. I'm relearning how to lead a group, getting something that looks great on my college resume, and making great friends. And, when I run for President of Lambda Kappa this year, I'll be able to say that I have experience running a fraternity (something else people said I could've had that would've given me a leg up). I'm very excited about this, and look forward to the coming year.
Which brings us to this summer. My parents wanted me to get an internship, so I applied for a SURE (Summer Undergraduate Research Experience) at my college. The way SURE works for English students is you find a professor, come up with a research topic, and submit it for approval. Only 5 out of all of the Arts and Humanities SURE proposals get approved. I decided to submit a proposal to study the evolution of the American short story in the early nineteenth century with the American Lit professor Prof. Brennan. I got approved! So, this summer, I have been on campus studying early nineteenth century short stories. Very quickly, we discovered that I had chosen too broad of a topic to effectively produce a paper on it. So, we narrowed in quite a bit, and yesterday I finished the body of a draft of a paper about anonymity in the 1841 and 1842 editions of Graham's Magazine. Graham's was one of the most successful literary magazines of its time, and in the time period I'm looking at, Edgar Allan Poe was the editor. There's lots of cool stories, including my personal favorite, "Miss Thompson", which I'm linking here for you to read if you're interested. It's a very funny story with a lot of layers, a lot of which I analyze in my piece. I still have to write the introduction and conclusion, but I'm mostly done with the first draft of my piece. It is 5349 words at the moment. I'm also planning a companion short story to the piece, which I may or may not publish here. See, I'm reaching the point where I don't know if I can put my work on here anymore. I'm planning on taking the anonymity piece and the companion short story and publishing them in the Sigma Tau Delta publications, which I imagine creates a copyright. I'm also going to submit my paper for consideration to present at the Sigma Tau Delta International Convention and the National Conference of Undergraduate Research, as well as whatever other conventions my professor wants me to submit too. But, if I can, I will also post it here. I'm very proud of myself for getting this far and doing all of this research, and having a put-together product. I hesitate to say finished because it's not finished, but it's very close. I'm so excited.
Also over this summer I've been becoming better friends with Chance. He's been doing a SURE project in physics, which I don't really understand. Something about cold gas between stars. Since he's from Colorado, he's been living with Lihannah's family all summer, bless him. Lihannah's family is great, but I would not want to try to live with my girlfriend's family all summer, if I had one. But, because he and Lihannah have been here, I've been hanging out with them a lot. Especially Chance, because Lihannah's family goes on vacations a lot, so he's had to housesit a couple times. I will keep him company while he housesits. He even took me to their house while I was sick with a cold and risked getting sick himself just to hang out with me. I used to be worried he was just friends with me to appease Lihannah but I don't worry about that anymore. Two weeks ago, his project was done and I was really lonely all by myself on campus. He drove forty five minutes from Lihannah's house just to hang out with me, two days in a row. He really is a gem, and I'm glad he's my friend.
Well, school starts next week, and I'm hoping everything goes well. I have an 8 am class on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays , and a night class on Wednesdays from 6-9, so I am gonna be very tired on those days. But, mercifully, I only have one class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so it evens out a bit. I'm also going to be taking Advanced Writing: Fiction, so I'll be producing a lot more fiction to add to my portfolio on here!
Oh! Also, I joined the Shakespeare Troupe on campus. We did Twelfth Night last year, and I played Feste, the Fool. I've kind of absorbed him into my personality. Everyone said my performance was great; I had strangers coming up to me and saying "Good job!" for like two weeks after. It was a surreal experience. I don't know what show we're doing this year, but I'm crossing my fingers for The Merry Wives of Windsor. I'd love to be Master Ford, but they'll probably stick me in a fat suit for some Falstaff scenes too (we rotate who plays who in different scenes so everyone can get to play who they want to play). We'll see what happens, but I hope it works out.
The reason I mention that is because I'm playing Feste again over at "Wdc 18th Birthday Masquerade Party" [13+]. It's the one event a year that I promise myself I don't miss, because it was the first event where I really got involved with the WDC community. So, if you want to say hello, I'll be over there, or don't hesitate to shoot me an email whenever. I still check my email on a somewhat daily basis, so I'll probably respond pretty quickly.
Thanks for catching up with me!