A How To On Ruining Minimalism, Architecture, And Swans

A How To On Ruining Minimalism, Architecture, And Swans

The true story of how I endeavored to just cross the freaking street.
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It was cold. I wanted to cut through. Easy as that.

Mmmm not quite.

As is the way with this fickle North Carolinian weather, leaving for an event at 5 o’clock in shorts requires a second trip home for a snowsuit by 6. Thus, the story begins. I was heading from my dorm, newly dressed for the drastic temperature drop, and heading to meet my friends for a movie night.

This event just so happened to be on the other side of a “short stroll” through that blistering Lake Mary Nell wind chill, hence the new digs. Thumping down the steep sidewalk in my less than flattering yet toasty get up led me straight into a pickle. Erected before me was none other than the Center for the Arts.

Here was a building that was physically blocking the beginnings of an ideal Friday night for me. A building that I could either mosey around, therefore furthering my exposure to this dastardly 40-degree torture on my Home-Grown-in-South-Carolina skin, or I could just “cut through”. Cutting through the CFA entailed the creature comforts of HVAC-processed heat and ambient lighting and maybe a sip of water from the fountain if I was feeling extra lux. Aaaahh the possibilities. “Moseying around,” however, entailed- the bird poop smell.

Of course, I march right on in.

Let me stop for a quick second to refocus on that much needed warm outfit I had donned for this journey. Our narrator was wearing New York Fashion Weeks’ haute-est neux line! Fresh off the runway, Lauren sports a pair of food-stained leggings paired handsomely with a hand-me-down Yale sweatshirt (but this is Elon honey, ooh what a risk). The ensemble takes a bold turn with the accessorizing of a blanket- Christmas patterned. Street style has never been so boudoir-boho. Or should I say boho-ho-ho-ho?

Anyways, here I come, a giant pajama-ed slob, complete with Lakeside to-go box wreaking of fried okra and movie watchin’ blanket, bounding towards this building at top speeds.

Instant silence. Instant applause. Instant confusion from yours truly.

Your gracious narrator had accidentally interrupted a pre-show presentation of the BFA Dance recital that was taking place in the main hallway. Let me repeat, this absolute bull of a girl, looking like she didn’t just roll out of bed but pinballed out and into Lakeside for a to-go order of the worst smelling food ever, just knocked over allllllll the china.

Rather than make the tom-foolery any more obvious, as if the audience of that poor choreographer’s speech weren’t hyper-aware of my disheveled obnoxiousness already, my brain thought, “Don’t just freeze up looking mortified, hurry along!” And so, this catastrophe ever so slightly crept towards the crowd like a stoner to the pizza rolls.

The goal was to just continue on through the crowd and to my desired exit on the other side of this spiel. The outcome, however, was an uncomfortable series of start-stopping in attempt to leave at the right moment. All the while, a professor I know hawk-eyed me from across the crowd.

She feigned a smile towards me while not so subtly motioning for me to just cut through, to leave, to stop being distracting, but I was in too deep at this point. I had stood a hair too long. I missed my chance to scurry far too many times now. I was going to have to just wait. Here lies Lauren- death by Medusification.

For a few seconds, I grappled with my new life choice of being a spineless seeming-stoner when the topic of “minimalistic modern dance” became all too much and I downright just fled! My brain wasn't working, I had left it in the crowd, but I knew I wouldn't fall victim to quiet passivity if it meant sitting through a modern interpretation of minimized body movements!

And, just like that, I was back where I started, mourning the loss of those beloved HVAC systems. Feeling the cold shoulder poetically and physically- I continued on my journey.

Here’s a riddle for you: does following a sidewalk guarantee you passage towards another sidewalk or at least a path of some sort?

NO! Your humble adventurer made her way across the CFA's courtyard and down its only sidewalk. You know, sidewalks? Man's solution for trudging through the raw earth. And yet, what did I find at the end of mine? PINE STRAW. The pathway ended in pine straw! Seems like an easy foe, right? I could just walk over it.

BUZZZ, wrong again! This slippery straw lied atop the steepest of foothills, dotted with spiked leaf bushes, and swan poop mounds. At this point, ya girl started hollering.

Apologies to those who may have heard some obscenities about the inaccuracies of the architectural field while trying to enjoy some minimalist modern dance.

After what seemed like a Slip and Slide of the Centuries- in the pitch of the night, mind you, I made it to my next trial.

A quick yet applicable tangent- the Memery family matriarch is notable for a few things: grade A cooking, her collection of “Pioneer Women” kitchen accessories, her adoration for the fat family dog, Izzy, and her gripping phobia of birds. Psychology will tell us that through the social influences of operant conditioning, humans are susceptible to learn the lessons that others have learned.

Your friend cuts their finger playing with a knife, so you learn to not play with knives to avoid their consequence. This law is most prominent with behaviors passed down from parent to child. In conclusion, in my eyes thanks to my mother- Becky is Satan.

Becky "The Swan" Lambert is a usual suspect around Elon's premises. She's the swan, the myth, the legend. You've heard the whisperings of her eating baby ducks, or how she would charge oncoming cars for trespassing on her swamp. Yes. That Becky. That Becky who caused this young adventurer to flee up the hill many a time to avoid her horror-drenched honk. Once more, I was nose to beak with this monstrous fiend, but this time, there could be no fleeing.

The slap of webbed feet couldn’t mask my thumping heart. Even though I thought it, this wouldn’t be the end. Your petrified hostess tip-toed past the bird, all the while whispering tentative “…nice Becky…. Good Becky… please don’t attack my feet Becky…” until the ornithological coast was clear. Safely past, I bid my gracious gatekeeper adieu, and promptly sprinted away as fast as these ham hocks of legs could book it.

Post pulse-checking, to ensure I wouldn't keel over from a heart attack, I realized I was gracing the presence of the light at the end of the tunnel. The Oaks apartments stood majestically in front of me. I was home free! Crossing the street and bounding up the Oaks' stairs was a blur. Until, finally, my friends, huddled around a destroyed box of Dominoes, sat unknowingly of my arduous quest. Brimming with the story of the century, I was met with our conclusion.

The movie night got canceled because they didn't have an HDMI cord.

Girls glided around cleaning up the remnants of pizza while I dragged myself towards my friends and, defeated, word-vomited the tale of my endeavors.

As I sat with the last remnant of my friend group, Annie, stewing over my slice of cheese, (I will add, I was finally burrito-ed into my blanket, so at least there's that) I reflected on the night. And in that reflection, the humor of it all finally showed itself. The pizza tasted better, the blanket felt warmer, the absurdity of the night made everything that went right more meaningful.

If meaning is to be pulled from this fiasco of a walk, then it would be this: life is made in the journey, not in the destination.

This has been a lesson I’ve been struggling with recently, constantly counting down the minutes to the good stuff like Spring Break and my birthday, and I have not been enjoying the memories to be made within those minutes. This story will ultimately be just one of many silly blips within the course of my life, but it’s in those blips that we make memories that make the journey through life a wild and worth-it ride.

Even if it means ruining minimalistic modern dance for 40 something people.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Memery

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10 Abnormally Normal Things About College

Some stuff just doesn't fly in the real world.
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College is a weird, weird place. For whatever reason, the young adults who are supposed to be cultivating their minds with all of the worldly knowledge available to them, seem to get away with quite a bit using the justification "it's college." Even the best students live abnormally while on the alien planet that is a university. So, while to us college students it may just seem like another day, here are ten things that are only normal in college.

1. Straight up theft.

In the future, if I walk into my forty-something-year-old neighbor's home and see a collection of stolen signs, stuff from the local restaurant, and property from the construction site down the road, I would definitely be concerned about the character of my neighbor. However, in college, people proudly display campus signs, traffic cones, or dining hall napkin dispensers that they have impressively commandeered - it's a cheap decoration and a great conversation starter.

2. All-nighters.

Maybe with the exception of parents of little babies, very few people willingly stay up for close to 24 hours on end. In the real world, if a friend came to you and said that they literally did not sleep the previous night, it's completely logical to be worried. On the other hand, when a friend in college says that he was up all night you laugh a little, give him an understanding pat on the back, and walk with him to the coffee line.

3. Atrocious eating habits.

Sometimes you don't have time to eat. Sometimes you order pizza at 2 in the morning. Sometimes you eat three dinners. Sometimes you diet. All I can say, is thank goodness that our metabolisms are decently high at this age.

4. Breaking and entering.

In high school, you hopefully knew everyone who entered your home. After college, hopefully, that's still the case. However, when you live in the middle of thousands of bored college students, people knock at your door, walk into parties, cut through your yard, and stop by without invitation or hesitation. It keeps life fun, but still not normal.

5. Calling mom when stuff goes down.

I really doubt a time will ever come that I don't need to call my mom for guidance on how to do something. But, hopefully the frequency of those calls with go down a little bit post-graduation. Maybe after four years of doing it on my own, I'll know how to fill out government forms, cook real dinners, and get stains out. But for now, I'm going to keep calling while I still can without seeming totally pathetic.

6. Being intoxicated at weird times.

Drunk at noon on a Friday is the quintessence of an alcoholic at any time - unless it's college. Not that this is necessarily a good thing, and it certainly doesn't apply to everyone, but there aren't many other places where people would instantly assume someone is intoxicated if they're acting even a little weird. I've even seen people drink in the library....

7. The messed up dating scene.



There are people who meet the love of their life at college and live happily ever after. They are people who meet the supposed love of their life at college and never talk to them again after Sunday. There are people who use Tinder. Hormones are high, freedom is bountiful, and football players are cute - what else needs to be said?

8. A warped sense of time.

The career I'm pursuing will require me to be at work by 7 am, five days a week. I am fully aware of this. Now, will I enroll in an 8 am next semester? Absolutely not - I'm not a demon. In college, nights often start at 10 p.m., dinners are eaten at 4, and mornings can begin anywhere from 8 to 2. We don't get that whole 9-5 idea.

9. Costumes... for no apparent reason.

High schoolers have a dress code. Adults have dignity. College students have fun. Here, people will wear a corn costume to get on ESPN, a fanny pack to get into a fraternity, or a tutu to match a theme party. Is it actually a weird thing, though? No one even blinks an eye.

10. Insanely close friends.

Name another point in your life when you live with your friends, study with your friends, drive with your friends, eat with your friends, go out with your friends, and even grocery shop with your friends. I'll wait. At college, it's easy for friends to seem like family because you're with them constantly. Love it or hate it, it's weird about college.

So, enjoy this weirdness while you can - it won't last forever!


ALSO SEE:

Uncensored Roommate Confessions!

Cover Image Credit: Matthew Kupfer

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12 Unhealthy College Habits That Never Should Have Become Normalized

No, you shouldn't have to pull an all-nighter to pass every exam.

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College is a weird time in our lives, but it doesn't have to be bad for our health. Here are some trends I've seen on social media and watched my friends practice that really never should have become a "thing" for college students in the first place.

1. The "freshman 15."

Everyone has heard of the dreaded "freshman 15," where college freshmen gain 15 pounds because of access to all-you-can-eat dining halls. Rather than eating healthier options at the dining halls or, you know, only eating until you're full and not stuffing yourself, we've just accepted our fate to gain what's really a large amount of weight. Not a very healthy mindset.

2. Eating only junk food because we're "too poor" to buy real food.

For off-campus students, the theme is ramen and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. This is really not how it needs to be. You can buy a bunch of romaine lettuce for around $1 at the grocery store I go to in my college town, and other produce like broccoli, potatoes, and apples are always cheap. Shop sales and keep your pantry stocked on staples like dry pasta, rice, beans, and other canned vegetables. It's not that expensive to eat decently.

3. Gorging on food at the dining hall just because you can.

This is what leads to the freshman 15. Just because you can eat whatever you want doesn't mean you should.

4. Procrastinating EVERYTHING.

I'm always ahead of my schoolwork, but all of the people in my classes push things right down to the wire. It creates unnecessary stress. Just get things done in advance so you don't have to worry.

5. Being generally unorganized and struggling to keep your life together. 

Actually using my planner is one of the best things I've done for myself in college so far. I don't know why it became popular for college students to be a hot mess all the time, but again, do what you can to avoid putting unnecessary stress on yourself.

6. Pulling all nighters, ever.

If you don't understand it by midnight, you won't understand it any better by five in the morning. You'll do so much better with less studying and more sleep than the other way around. Take the L and go to bed.

7. Waiting until the very last minute to start studying for your finals.

This is what typically leads to the aforementioned all-nighters. If you have an exam in two weeks, start studying NOW. Give yourself time to figure out what you need to focus on and get in contact with your professor or a tutor if necessary. Do yourself the favor.

8. Getting blackout drunk Friday and Saturday night...every weekend.

A lot of college students like to drink. That's fine, I get it, college is stressful and you just want to have a good time. But you don't have to go out every night of every weekend and drink so much you don't remember anything that didn't occur between Monday-Friday every week. Give yourself a break from drinking every so often.

9. Getting iced coffee before class and being late because of it.

I always make sure I get to campus early if I plan to get Starbucks, which I often do. It's rude to come in late, and it's detrimental to your education to consistently miss class. Your coffee can wait if you're running late. Plan better next time.

10.  Committing to 10 different extracurriculars because "it'll boost your resume if you have more on it!"

If you only participate in one club where you're the head of marketing and the treasurer, that will look SO much better than if you participated in five clubs but were just...there for all of them. Excel in one thing rather than being mediocre in many.

11.  Skipping class whenever you feel like it.

You can take the occasional mental health day, but if you're just being lazy, you're only hurting yourself. Go to class. You're paying a lot of money for it, after all.

12.  Spending every last penny you have to go somewhere for spring break (Daytona Beach, anyone?).

"Broke" college kids always end up taking the most extravagant spring break vacations. I'm sure it's fun and you'll cherish the memories, but wouldn't you cherish that $500 more if you saved it for things you actually need rather than living off of ramen for a month when you get home?

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