How to Survive Graduation When You’re Not Graduating

I have to admit, graduation this year is hitting me harder than ever before.  As I finish my junior year, I’m forced to say goodbye to two cousins and some of my closest friends.  Obviously, I’ve known this was coming.  I was happily able to ignore the inevitable though until January.  Since then, I’ve been implementing anti-dealing-with-graduation strategies that I feel may benefit those in a predicament similar to my own:

1. Establish rules for yourself and your graduating friends.  These are the ones I’ve found most helpful so far:

  • Ban the word “graduation”.  With the exception of the few times I’ve used it in this blog post, I have not said the G word since last semester.  I also banned my closest friends from using it as well.  It took some practice, but they’ve   gotten pretty good at it. (It goes without saying that any topics related to the G-word are banned as well.  For example: caps, gowns, future jobs, etc.)
  • Prohibit Vitamin C’s song “Graduation (Friends Forever)” from being played in your presence, also Green Day’s “Time of Your Life”.
    • (I’m providing the link only as a reference point, listen at your own risk.)

2. Warn your friends/family that if they plan on crying, they need to take a box of tissues to somewhere far away from you.  In my apartment, all criers are banned outside or to a room with a closed door.

3. Avoid Bucket-List activities with seniors or any of their “last times” at places on/around campus.  Stick to safe, non-sentimental activities like going to Dukes, the movies, Take the Pulse, or attending class.

4. Leave Harrisonburg before move-out day.  I think this rule is pretty self-explanatory.

5. Another rule that needs no explanation: Do not say good-bye to anyone, for any reason.

6. This is my favorite: Take advantage of the graduation celebrations, but just the celebrating parts.  If you hear any clinking glasses or see any water eyes, excuse yourself immediately and come back when the coast is absolutely clear.   Basically this means enjoy the free lunches and dinners at good restaurants, as well as the cookouts in the nice weather.

I hope that those of you in my situation find these strategies helpful in the weeks approaching this rough time for us.

As for you seniors…see you soon.

~Courtney Tubbs, VP of Membership Development

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Get To Know…VP of Membership Development

There are a million and three reasons why the VP of Membership Development is the best position to hold on Exec.  I spend my days doing exactly as the title says, developing members.  From new members of UPB, to current members, I am fortunate enough to work with them all.  My favorite part about my position is not being restricted to just one committee.

I facilitated picking the new members, as well as training them during P.I.T. Crew (Programmers in Training).  This means that every Sunday evening for six weeks, I spent an hour getting to know 60 amazing people.  After orienting them to UPB, I was able to really focus on the rest of our members.   My most recent projects include implementing ways to recognize our members for all of their hard work, as well as planning a UPB-wide game of Assassins.  My other responsibilities include holding current members accountable and planning professional development activities.

If you enjoy meeting new people, or working with people in general, this position is perfect for you!

~Courtney Tubbs, VP of Membership Development

Doing the Impossible

In my life there are very few instances where I set out to accomplish something that I felt was truly impossible.  At the moment, only 3 of these instances come to mind:

The first occurred senior year in high school, when I very stubbornly refused a car with a manual transmission.  I tried driving it once, but decided never again once I experienced the jolting and screeching of stalling out.  Faced with the choice of driving stick or continuing to rely on my parents and friends for rides, I finally gave in and within days I accomplished the first thing I was ever sure I couldn’t.

Instance 2 happened when I faced Norm Garrison’s physiology class. This was one of those classes- you know what talking about.  After three exams and more coffee than a human being should probably ever consume, I walked out of our final with an A-.  (Insert appropriate oohs and ahhs here!)

 All of this brings me to today, the day I encountered my third impossible experience.  Curtains. I have looked everywhere.  I’ve looked at Obscure Store X.  I looked at Obscure Store Y and Z too.  Did I find any curtains?  Of course not!  Well I did find some, *cough anthropologie-curtains-that-rival-my-first-month’s-rent cough*.  Finally, I reached the point of desperation and frustration, and put one foot in front of the other into JoAnn Fabrics.  From the moment I decided to go the “home made” route, through the moment I carried my beautiful new fabric into my bedroom, my plan involved my mother doing the actual sewing.  This lasted until I looked into my closet, where I saw the last set of curtains my mother made for me; the ones that hung in my room for about a week.  They sit in the exact same spot now as they did when I decided I could not look at them any longer (sorry Mom).  Again, frustration and desperation knocked at my door.  “Fine. I’ll do it.”

Four hours, three re-dos, too many finger pricks to count, and more $^%@#$ than I’d care to admit, one single curtain panel lay completed on my kitchen table.  While I clearly have a lot more work ahead of me, I feel successful in that I completed at least part one of impossible task number three. 

With this accomplishment I have reached a couple conclusions.

 1) Sewing is difficult, but really more a pain.  Either way, if your mother has ever hemmed your pants or created a Halloween costume for you, you should call her now and thank her.

2) Sewing is not a talent I will chose to pursue. Sorry  soon-to-be roommate, if you are reading this…I hope you’re OK with taking the bedroom with two windows.  I only have one panel left in me!

~Courtney (VP of Membership Development)

Scary Movies Have a New Fan

I am a glutton for punishment.  This hasn’t always been the case.  I blame the recent shift in judgment on two old friends.

picture from iwatchstuff.comFor years I avoided scary movies like the plague.  If blood, killing, screaming, kidnapping, or aliens were involved, I was not.  Eerie fog? Escaped psycho villains? Not a chance.  So, you would think that when these two so-called friends suggested not one, but two horror movies on one uneventful night, I would have protested more than I did.  I blame it on the lure of the 3D experience “My Bloody Valentine” offered.  Because the next thing I knew, there we were, sporting lopsided 3D glasses on the couch in a very dark living room, watching a bunch of teenagers meet their gory demise in a creepy old coalmine.

I feel that night may have given me a false sense of security.  Sitting in the comfort of my own home, locked safely away from the outside world (and only a few inches away from the light switch) helped make a much braver audience member out of me.  By the time the second movie ended, my feathers were puffed and I felt ready to face the big screen.  A few weeks later, I walked into my first true horror film experience and thought back to my living room and miscalculated the ridiculousness that the directors had thrown at us.   As the opening scenes from “Drag Me to Hell” began to play across the 40-foot span and the increased decibels of the surround sound filled my ears, I quickly realized how wrong I had been.

This is where the gluttony comes in.  Even after clinging to the person next to me for the entirety of the movie and swearing afterwards “never again,” itThe Fourth Kind wasn’t long before I found myself standing in line saying “one please” for Jennifer’s Body.  If that wasn’t bad enough, the company responsible for “Paranormal Activity” decided Harrisonburg needed to “be a part of the phenomenon,” leaving me yet again watching a movie with only one eye half open, hiding safely behind both hands.

Despite the terror I face each time, I find myself begging for more.  Although it’s much cheaper to watch from the safety of Huffman Hall, my 13-inch ten-year-old Sony just doesn’t compare to the theater experience. This dilemma is why I can’t wait for the free advanced screening of “The Fourth Kind” next week.  I just hope whoever sits next to me is prepared to deal with the screaming, gasping, and possible clutching that very well may occur.

– Courtney