College is funny because you can watch friends go in and out of serious, committed relationships while somehow managing to never make it past the “What are we?” stage with countless douchebags for four years straight. At least I like to think it’s funny when alone in my room meant for four people on date night. Well, date night for all my friends but what is so accurately described as “me time” for yours truly.
Yeah, that’s right, ME time.
Time for ME to do things, alone.
Oh wait, I already have plenty of that because I am alone.
Crap, I’m lonely.
I don’t mean I’m alone in the sense that I have no friends or family that care about me and love me unconditionally, because that couldn’t be further from the truth. I have plenty of people that care about me and love me and support me endlessly. But, because I’m selfish and jealous and honestly always a little bit salty I still want more people to love me. Well, person. One person (I’d like to think I’d be a monogamist if I were ever presented with the option). Continue reading “It’s Not Me, It’s You: A Series of Unfortunate Douchebags by Anna Walters”
This collection of stories comes from three generations of women. The stories show the strength of a marriage and family, and how often these things are built on the simple moments that make life memorable.
For Grandma and Papa: you showed me what love and happiness looks like.
Grandma: I arrived with my family in Brady, Nebraska when I was a junior in high school. Naturally the first thing I did was look around to see what the boy situation was. When I first laid eyes on him I noticed his quirky smile and blue eyes. But, unfortunately at that time, those blue eyes were looking to someone else.
It wasn’t until after he graduated high school and went off to college that we went out ice-skating together. He was a perfect gentleman while we skated out at the river.
I guess we just clicked because we went together thereafter.
Continue reading “Simple Moments That Make Life Memorable by Rachel Wermager”
As I enter the last few weeks of college, I can’t help to reflect on my experiences. I’ll be completely honest and say that this was not the best four years of my life, I mean moments of it were great but if this is as good as it’s going to get, that’s a bit terrifying. Did I go about college the wrong way? Should I have done things differently? Sure, I have regrets, I probably should have come to college without a high school boyfriend because in hindsight that distanced myself from my friends. I should have spent more time out of my dorm room. I probably should have lived in my sorority house and became closer with my pledge class. I should have gone out more. I should’ve explored Des Moines every weekend. I should have just said “yes” more. But who really knows the right way to do college. Does anyone else feel like these four years are hyped up more than they should be?
Did I fail at college? Continue reading “Reflections from a College Senior by Cali Tonnesen”
hablo lo inglés matao
hablo lo español matao
no sé leer ninguno bien
so it is, spanglish to matao
what i digo
¡ay, virgen, yo no sé hablar!
–Tato Laviera, “my graduation speech”
When I applied for a job at Breakthrough Collaborative in Santa Fe, I thought teaching writing for a nonprofit would be a chance to do what I love and also do some good. After three years of majoring in English at Drake University, I had only completed work in my field of interest during the school year—tutoring college students in my university’s writing workshop and helping elementary and middle school students practice their English while I was in Spain. Perhaps as a consequence, I still had no idea what I wanted to do with an English degree. As I grew closer and closer to graduating, I became increasingly nervous about finding a purpose. It didn’t help that my major seemed to be the butt of every joke. In Spain, when I told a cab driver I was studying English, he said, “Ah,” as if he now understood that I was suffering from a grave predicament. He turned to me confidentially and said, “Estás estudiando tu propia lengua.” Listening to John Mulaney on Netflix, I heard something similar, as he cracked a series of jokes about obtaining a four-year degree “in a language I already spoke.” In the words of Princeton, a singing puppet down on his luck in Avenue Q, “What do you do with a B.A. in English?” I hoped teaching would be my answer, so I could finally have a sense of direction. Continue reading “My Graduation Speech by Abi Grimminger”
When my childhood dog died, I cried for three days. During those three days, I probably slept a total of six hours. I was nineteen years old at the time and had gotten that dog—Princess—when I was three years old. I was devasted. I could tell you exactly what I was doing the day that she died. I could tell you that I had on my high school English honor society shirt. I could tell you that it was roughly 9:40 pm when I let her outside and her legs stopped working. I could tell you that when the vet told us it was time he was wearing green scrubs and that when she tried to look up at me for the last time as she went to sleep there was one brown spot in the white of her left eye.
When my grandpa died two months later, all I remember is that when my mom called me from the hospital and told me in a tear-choked voice that Grandpa was gone, I said, “Oh.” Continue reading “Two Bad Things by Nora Balboa”
When Africans were violently brought over to America and forced under the institution of slavery, the separation from their heritage was far more than physical. Their traditional religions and practices were demonized and punished on a large scale, creating a compulsion to assimilate to the dominant culture and enforcing a more complete rupture from their various cultural pasts. The fictionalized autobiography The Bondwoman’s Narrative by Hannah Crafts, a manuscript written in the mid-nineteenth century which tells the story of a slave woman who runs away from her oppressors, deals with the tensions between the Western America and the traditional African cultures under the institution of slavery. Many scholars have noted the manuscript’s blatant appropriation of the urban gothic Bleak House by Charles Dickens in several passages, but the comparison between the Western gothic genre and Crafts’s novel goes deeper than simple copying. Crafts takes many characteristics of the Western gothic novel and incorporates them into her own work, contextualizing them in accordance to experience of slavery. In other words, she African-Americanizes them. Specifically, Crafts African-Americanizes the Western gothic literary tradition in her use of traditional folklore and oral narratives in the African-American communities under slavery. This appropriation illustrating the complicated relationship between the two cultures is furthered by Crafts’s character and persona, Hannah, through her own position within and without the African-American culture of folklore and oral narratives. Continue reading “Transformative Slave Gothic: Hannah Crafts’s African-Americanization of Gothic Literature by Nicole Margheim”
An Oreo. To some this is a very delicious cookie. Crunchy chocolaty outside that seems to melt in your mouth and a silky-smooth crème filling. This is the (black) cookie that craves (white) milk. It is perfect for when everything is going wrong and just one package would be good enough to solve all the problems in the world. However, to some an Oreo isn’t just a cookie. To some it’s an insulting nickname. To me, an Oreo stopped being just a cookie a long time ago, now it means black on the outside, white on the inside. An Oreo is what I’ve been unofficially called since sixth grade, but to be honest the not so subtle racism started when I was much younger than that. Continue reading “Oreos Are Just Cookies by Sydney Moore”
For one of my classes I was assigned a piece on a pop-punk band that had started a tour around the United States. I had never heard of the band, or of the venue for that matter. Neither of those things surprised me because I am not an avid pop-punk fan, and the music venue is in a town an hour north of where I live. So I thought there should be no reason to worry about what I might get myself into. This was my last journalism class, and I didn’t want one of the last memories of this degree to be me half-heartedly working on an assignment that I had no passion for. Plus, I had done fairly well in all of my courses; I wanted to continue that pattern if I could. I was going to do my damnedest to make the experience of completing this piece something that would equate to more emotion in the final piece.
The day of the concert I looked up the address of the venue, but found nothing. I thought there may have been a chance the owners were old-school and didn’t believe in using a website; I wasn’t sure what the pop-punk crowd was into. I opted to call them instead. A man picked up and I asked where the venue was. Instead of giving me the address he asked who I was. Strange. I told him I was a student trying to cover a band playing there, and that I had gotten his phone number from one of my classmates. He asked me if I was the police. I told him no, and he begrudgingly gave me the address. This worried me a little bit, but not enough to deter me from going. I did the thing that all people who get killed in horror movies do; I justified everything creepy that happened by concluding it was just coincidence. Continue reading “Turns Out, I Would Risk My Life For A Grade by Olive Riley”
His name was Austin Koehler. His hair was stringy and blond. He was the type of boy that was constantly dirty. It was fair to assume that his mom didn’t make him take as many showers as mine did. He was continuously on the go, always outside, just ready to explore whatever piqued his interest.
Austin was my next-door neighbor and neither of our backyards had fences, so he would always stroll over to mine. It was pretty obvious who had the better yard, because mine was home to a gigantic play set that had chain-linked swings and a bright yellow slide. Needless to say, he was over constantly—so much so that from time to time my parents would complain about his lack of parental supervision. I didn’t mind Austin being over all the time. He played the big brother role and showed me all of the things that I needed to learn in order to be a kid growing up on the south side of Lincoln, Nebraska. He showed me how to climb large piles of dirt and how to pump my legs back to get the momentum that allowed me to swing higher. Continue reading “Grief: An Afterthought by Kenzie Busekist”
Smack dab in the middle of Lincoln, Nebraska, sits a lake. More specifically, Holmes Lake. To be frank, the lake itself is quite gross. The water is composed of thick brown liquid that looks uninhabitable, yet the lake is home to whiskered catfish that resemble someone’s drunken grandpa, along with bug-eyed trout. The moss is a neon green color that covers most—if not all—of the rocks that surround the natural lake. The lake is small—112 acres to be exact. It’s nothing compared to the great lakes that are found up north. It is surrounded completely by trails, and you can almost always find a jogger or a biker circling the water. Flaws and all, the locals love the lake because it’s a great place to get some fresh air, hang out with friends, let dogs roam free and start up your own softball league. Continue reading “Holmes Lake by Kenzie Busekist”