That Moment When Your History Professor Starts Talking About Star Trek

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

My history professor: “Well, let’s think about the production of history, you guys. Let’s think about travel. About exodus. About the ephemera of life. About the absences and silences in the system of history…. Has anybody seen Star Trek?… Any Trekkies here? Where are the nerds at?”

Class: *almost everybody raises their hands except for me and a few others.”

Prof.: “So, let’s talk about Star Trek. I’m a Trekkie.  Are we talking about colonialism when we talk about Star Trek? What does history mean in this scenario? Do the members of Enterprise feel obligated to explore and conquer? Are they colonialists? Are they the conquistadors of the stars?”

Me, in my head: “LOLWHATISHAPPENING.”

But actually, I am a fairly nerdy person. I enjoy reading. I enjoy nerding out with fellow students occasionally about different ideas. This? Too much. I wish I could have posted the rest of the lecture here from my professor but it was based on a particular episode of Star Trek and therefore, I didn’t listen. Because she was speaking some sort of alien language.

- Daughter

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That First Amazing Grade

OH YES.

Unrelated: kitten.

Unrelated: kitten.

I love when professors recognize my genius. Seriously. It’s the best validation besides getting a high-five from your dad or your mom or an angel.

My best essays are ironically written in a hasty, half-delirious manner. Whenever I write how you’re “supposed” to write – that is, with multiple drafts and careful editing – the essay always ends up being a dud. What should be a masterpiece turns into something you’d find on the bottom of your shoe after walking around all day.

Starting is always the worst. I tend to clean everything in my room first under the pretense of “not being able to work amidst clutter”. Really, I’m hoping that my professor will be abducted by aliens and that the assignment will be canceled if I wait just a biiit longer before beginning. After I come to terms with the fact that aliens chose to fulfill some other student’s dream of professor-abduction instead of mine, I get to writing. Eventually, I get into my stride and the genius begins a-burnin’.

Not to brag or anything but my professor said my analysis of The Rainbow Fish was really ‘insightful’ and ‘subtle’. Just to remind you, I ended the essay with the words: “each fish is entitled to its own share of sparkle”. I’M SO INSIGHTFUL.

This grade was particularly special to me after my mediocre first grade.

I’m aware that grades really mean nothing. They do not measure intelligence nor do they reflect the value of who you are as a person. (Over-achieving students everywhere:  “WHAAAT?!!!”) That doesn’t mean I’m not going to dance in my socks on my hardwood floors to celebrate. Because I am entitled to my own share of sparkle. Forever and always.

- Daughter

That First Mediocre Grade Hits Hard

I just got my first assignment back since my return to college after a year off and I am… displeased.

My professor called my assignment ‘thoughtful’ but wanted me to flesh out my argument more.

I’M SORRY, OKAY. I AM SORRY I AM WORTHLESS IN YOUR EYES. I AM SORRY THAT I ONLY HAVE A THIRD GRADE EDUCATION. I AM SORRY.

Me.

Me.

The grade I received brought up some dark memories and academic insecurities. How will I get a job if I didn’t get an A+++ on this assignment? Who will hire me when I’m a degenerate basically failing out of school? Oh look, a B, how nice… oh wait, no, it’s not, go sit in a corner and stop thinking so highly of yourself, YOU ARE MADE OF MEDIOCRITY.

See, I expect myself to be an Einstein in school so when I don’t get a million percent and get, say, an 89%, something is wrong. And that something wrong is ME. My poor excuse for a GPA currently has its tail between its legs and is shaking in a corner, hoping it will get adopted by some nice family but knowing that it will probably not. My GPA will die without ever knowing a family’s love and live the rest of its life behind the cold, metal bars of academia, never to be freed.

It’s not like I even got a bad grade. I got what many consider a “good” grade. But is ‘good’ what I’m aiming for? I might as well be ‘average’ if I’m just going to aim for ‘good’. I like to think I am a special, pristine snowflake in a world full of dirty snow and sleet. Therefore, I need to up the ante in terms of grades to reflect this truth.

You could say I’m an overly sensitive student. You could say that I need to relax. You could tell me to work harder to get that perfect grade. You could say all these things and I would just say: YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE, MOM, YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW.

- Daughter

Making Friends! Sort of.

It was really easy making friends in grade school because all you have to do is run up to a kid and say, “Hey, wanna be friends?” And then, he or she says, “Yes!” And then you go off and read Twilight and listen to One Direction or whatever the children are into these days.

Fwends.

In college, things get more complicated. There is a ten minute period when students are filing into class and waiting for the professor to come that could hypothetically be used to make friends. It is a special time – a magical time – when you can interact with people on a level that isn’t academic. Instead of shutting down the person next to you by pointing out the logical fallacy of his latest ridiculous theory or vehemently disagreeing over Oxford commas or making a blood sacrifice of a freshman to appease an angry professor, you have the chance to ask him how his day is going or some such question.

Unless, of course, you have an eccentric professor who is dedicated to “icebreakers” and forcing his students to socialize for the duration of class time.

"Are we friends yet?

“Are we friends yet?”

I’m not even going to pretend I didn’t have the best time ever during these icebreakers because I love to embarrass myself hearing other people’s life stories. So, the class was divided into small groups and then we went around answering questions out of a hat and subtly trying to one-up each other with the coolest autobiographical details we could muster (obviously, I fared poorly).

One of the questions we each had to answer was, “Are you a morning or night person?” And then we each took a turn explaining our propensities for mornings or evenings. Except I was not satisfied with answering in a sane manner. My turn came and this is what I said, “I’m basically nocturnal. I like to go to bed in the wee hours of the morning. I’m half-vampire.” The other people in my group were amused but also exchanged looks of uncertainty.

Then, another question was asked, “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?” The guy next to me said some boring answer because he’s vegetarian. And so, in order to prompt him to say something more interesting  I said, “Well, have you eaten leaves from the rainforest or something? Anything exotic like that?” Everybody was weirded out. But I felt, in my heart of hearts, that this weirdness could be the seeds of friendship.

- Daughter

A Professor Used a Cat Book to Illustrate a Point and I Died, PLUS: Must-Read Cat Books

I’m taking a class about technical theater lighting because I want to learn how to do things that I will literally never use outside of the school; I guess you could say that I like to educate myself to new, useless heights. Today, my professor/indie-electrician was talking about different sorts of lighting terminology and held up the book, Looking at Paintings: Cats, by Peggy Roalf to illustrate different types of light. My eyes teared up from the sheer joy of this moment. Up until this point, I had been unsure of this professor with his cowl-neck/hoodie sweatshirt (???) and puce watch and Robert Pattinson hair. But when that cat book entered my visual sphere, I knew I was in the right place. How could I not take this class when the professor so clearly shared the same worldview as me, one defined and enhanced by cats? He just gets me. 

Almost immediately after I got home, I went on Amazon to buy this wonderful piece of literature for myself. As an art history  major, it’s very important to have a wide breadth of understanding of the canon. (Buy it here if you also want this edifying piece of KitLit ™!) Of course, I got sucked into the world of cat literature/art, aka KitLit ™. It’s a wonderful world and very rewarding if you don’t mind that recycled kitty litter was used to manufacture each book*. I included links to the actual books just in case you don’t believe me. THIS IS REAL LIFE.

KitLit ™ Must-Reads!

Dancing with Cats by Burton Silver and Heather Busch.

Yes, Amazon, I will look inside. Look at the gentle grace and beauty of both human and cat, dancing as one great monolithic being. An intertwined dance expressing raw, animal energy. In Russian (?), this is called kavorka. And if I ever when I have a cat, I’m going to name it that. Buy it here! Valentine’s Day is coming!!

Glamourpuss: The Enchanting World of Kitty Wigs by Julie Jackson

If your cat aspires to be a drag queen. Buy it here!

Crafting with Cat Hair by Kaori Tsutaya and Amy Hirschman

You and your cat will bond over this symbiotic relationship: you get to make interesting crafts and your cat will throw up fewer hair balls (maybe, I’m not a medical expert). Buy it here!

I Could Pee on This And Other Poems by Cat by Francesco Marciuliano

Alternative title: I Could Poop on This. Buy it here!

In a high-pitched baby voice, but with more subtle tones. Learn this and more! Buy it here!

What is My Cat Thinking? by Gwen Bailey

The cat is thinking: “….soon…” Buy it here!

Why Cats Do That: A Collection of Curious Kitty Quirks by Karen Anderson and Wendy Christensen

The cats do that because they’re fu cats. Buy it here!

Careers for Your Cat by Ann Dziemianowicz

Don’t let your cat settle for being a homeless liberal-arts major, get her to dream big.  Buy it here!

100 Cats Who Changed Civilization by Sam Stall

Let’s be honest, every cat that has ever existed has changed civilization. Buy it here!

*Except not.

- Daughter

I Got Back into My Lesbian Cult

I have been taking a year off from school because I got really ill at college and became a tumbleweed of misery rolling whichever way the wind blew. The first six months of my year off included exciting activities like sleeping for the majority of the day, watching every season of 30 Rock, and dyeing my hair different colors. The second part of my year off was spent more productively because I got an actual job, two internships, and finally started to take care of myself like a normal person and less like a gremlin.

Because I was on medical leave, I had to re-apply to school and go through a re-admission process that can only be described as a bureaucratic nightmare. Eventually, the forces that be graciously allowed me to return so I can give them more mone- I mean, so I can get an education. Of course, it’s not that easy. Even though it’s my last semester and I’m done with my major, I don’t have enough credits to technically graduate… so this summer I will be taking more courses at home to get that damn degree.

I call my school a lesbian cult because it’s an all-girls private school. It’s tiny with only around 1500 girls (all the better for its cult-like atmosphere). Now, let’s be real, not everyone there is a lesbian… but pretty much, y’all. If you walk around, it’s not uncommon to see people naked save for a gay rights flag wrapped around their flesh.

I am excited to go back but weary of things that have become unfamiliar to me such as:

1) Homework: what is it exactly?

2) Deadlines: wait, things have to be done by a certain time?

3) Time management: wait, things have to be done by a certain time?

4) People my age: where did all these young-ish people come from and why are they all around? I MISS WRINKLES.

5) No pets: how am I going to live without my cat, Rambo? I’m freaking out right MEOW!

Don't leave me!

Don’t leave me!

6) Dining halls: barf.

Me, at the prospect of eating dining hall food. Also, I was an ugly freshman.

7) Snow: nooooooooooo. I feel so cold already.

Ew, snow.

8) Public transportation: I don’t remember how to use any of the trains or buses. Not even joking.

How I feel about using public transportation and giving up my car. Also, me un-ironically wearing a romper!!!

9) Reading: wait, books? Not blogs? WHAT.

Do I look like I read books? Exactly.

10) Professors: I know I will probably call them “Mom” or “Dad” at least once out of habit.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU’RE NOT MY MOM?!!!!

11) Dorms: why are there so many young people here? Is this a cult… oh wait, yes, yes it is.

How I feel about dorm-living.

12) Essays: I have to write about what the professor wants me to write about and not whatever I please? This is the winter of my discontent.

You want me to write about… WHAT?

And, for now, that’s it. Although, there is plenty of time between now and January when I head back to obsessively think about the things I am unprepared for, hurrah!

- Daughter

P.S. How funny would it be if it was actually my dad who posted this one?

P.P.S. Apparently, I really enjoy not wearing make-up for any and all pictures. This is what I look like without make-up, you guys. I’m sooooooo good-looking I can barely stand it.

P.P.P.S. It’s a little disconcerting that this is .0001 percent of the embarrassing photos I have saved on my computer. This is just the tip of the attractive-fail iceberg, baby.

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