My voice wavers during the Alma Mater, turning into my grandmother’s not-so-great singing voice I remember hearing during church services while growing up.
Think about Bradley. Think about those quotes that supposedly make you feel better about things being over. “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Yeah. That crap. You paid thousands of dollars NOT TO CRY RIGHT NOW. So smile.
“WiTh mYrTle WrEAtH wE’ll DEcK thY bRoW,
bONA’s, oLd ST. BoNA’S.”
Remember when you were a junior in high school and your mom graduated in this very chapel? Think about that, Emily. She was smiling as she walked down the aisle. NOT crying. You’re FINE.
“The verdant leaves our love avow,
Bona’s, old ST. bONa’S.”
Okay, okay. Some of the other graduates around you aren’t singing. They kind of suck. Maybe they can’t find their programs? None of us actually learned this shit. You’re fine, Emily.
“Thy name was ever fair and bright:
We’ll keep it thus with memory’s light
And laud thy glorious Brown and White,
BONa’S, Ollld sT. BoNA’s.”
But seriously. WHAT THE HECK? I hadn’t planned to graduate this early. Haley, sitting two rows ahead of me with the purple-y hair…SHE’S ready. She’s been ready. She even said she felt bad for me because she commuted, so she doesn’t have the same connection to the school that I do. One more verse. One stanza away.
“Our HEaRts shAlL EVeR be thy shrine,
bONa’S, ollllLd St. BOnA’s.”
I remember coming in here and studying the stained glass windows for two different classes. One with Dr. Tate, and the other with Bob Donius. I think… Clare College is kind of a blur to me now. Thank goodness Denny had me take all those classes my freshman and sophomore years. I wish he were sitting right behind me instead of diagonally. He’d probably keep kicking my chair and distract me from the tears welling up in my eyes right now.
“Around thy name shall honor twine,
Bona’s, old St. Bona’s.”
When my freshman-year R.A. said this goes by way too fast, I honestly didn’t believe her. She said to take a lot of pictures. I hope I took enough pictures.
“E’er hallowed shall thy memory grow:
THOugH YeARs haVE FLeD AND yEaRS ShaLL fLoW”
Shit. Here come the tears.
“WiTHin OuR SOulS tHy LoVE sHalL gloWw
BOnA’S, oOooLLd ST. BoNa’sS”
Take bread, peanut butter and jelly from the hotel continental breakfast in the morning to have for lunch. (Don’t forget the banana and yogurt.)
If it’s a beautiful day, go outside instead of staying in staring at a rectangle.
Ride your bike to the gym instead of driving. It’s only three miles away.
Getting a master’s in business administration makes sense. Right?
I have seven credits to take before graduation knocks on my door and force-feeds me a diploma. So let’s take a foundations accounting course, get a little math in there, get a taste of what an MBA would be all about. Be one of those few woman CEOs and run an entire company. Make a shitload of money.
…there goes my right brain.
I want to be successful, but maybe there’s another way. Another master’s program to enroll in, another path that is math free and more Emily-esque.
When I hung up from a phone call with the director of the MBA program at my school on Tuesday, I almost cried. Partly because of PMS, but also because I’m scared. College has basically been a walk in the park for me. The mistakes I’ve made have helped me learn and I’ve become a better writer, a better listener and a better intellectual. The idea of buying more textbooks, studying business strategies, solving math problems, stumbling over statistics… well, it scares me. Even though it makes sense. Even though I like the idea of being a boss to many.
For now I’ll save money by making a PB&J sandwich for my lunches with supplies taken from my hotel’s lobby. I’m a “poor” college student who can’t figure out if she wants to pursue what she loves or what makes sense.
My brother graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2009. After the ceremony in the Reilly Center Arena, graduates, families and professors congregated outside on the lawn adjacent to the R.C. Cameras clicked, family members smiled, hands were shaken.
As a freshman at SBU, I am under the impression that this photo-op on the aforementioned lawn is a traditional end to graduation.
Now the lawn is muddy. Shovels have prodded the land, marking an ‘X’ for the new business building (due here in 2013… yeah right!). By the time 2015 rolls around, post-graduation photos will be shot elsewhere, or feature a modern building as a backdrop (modern is very unlike Bonaventure).
It’s not so much the end of the photo tradition. It’s about the view beyond. The mountain view just beyond the athletic fields is spectacular. So much so that, here on campus, a Save The View! campaign erupted in an attempt to, well, save the view. Petitions were passed. A Facebook page was created. Articles in The Bona VentureandThe Intrepidran. Some people agreed with the petitioners, others believed the Save The View! cause to be futile. The topic resulted in arguments on social networking sites, mainly on Facebook via The BonaMemes page (after someone posted my brother’s “ad” and someone commented about losing that view). Things became heated. People asked for your opinion on the topic like they would about worldwide controversies like abortion.
Students, alumni and board members who support the location of the new business building, and tell opposers to shut up, need to realize the real reasons behind the opposition. For most, it isn’t personal. If you had paid attention in The Intellectual Journey (the class we are all forced to take), you would understand Bonaventure’s deep connection with nature. There’s a whole step in the required $150 textbook titled “Imaginative Perspectives On The Natural World.” But even before that step, Colinvaux’s “The Succession Affair” and Leopold’s “Reading The Forest Landscape” are featured. St. Bonaventure modeled himself after St. Francis, who was known for his love of animals. Francis loved nature, and since so many pieces at St. Bonaventure University are attributed to St. Francis (Clare College, Francis Hall, La Verna [Alverno], Damietta Center), the university should respect those values. It’s insulting to the university to build an edifice that will block what people love most about Bonaventure. Merton’s Heart will no longer be visible from the sidewalk, and the view that soothes students studying in the library on the quiet floor will shift to one that might stress them out more.
I’m not Catholic, but I believe the values of the university should be preserved. When you go to a university that has its own mountain retreat (Mount Irenaeus), a place where students can escape stress by embracing nature, it should be expected that the little breath of fresh air on campus, such as a pleasant mountain view, would be a little more important.
It’s been awhile since I have heard anything about Save The View! on campus. Ground has been broken for the William E. and Ann L. Swan Business Center (named after its benefactors, of course) and students just have to sit tight and watch the building rise from the ground and slowly block more and more of the precious view.
That being said, The Laurel, St. Bonaventure’s semesterly published literary magazine, came out yesterday (April 30). I skimmed through it. If words caught my eye or if I recognized an author, I viewed his/her creative work. Long poems scare me, so I steered clear of them. Today I decided to give the longer poems a chance.
The first one completely blew me away.
The poem, titled “Swan Song” is deep, chock full of every poetic device known to man and brings up the Save The View! issue once again, this time in a more sad, defeated way. It begins with two quotes: one from Gerard Manley Hopkins and the other from Thomas Merton; Hopkins’s taken directly from that $150 Intellectual Journey textbook I mentioned before.
The rest of the poem is ballsy. Pat Hosken, the author and a member of SBU’s Class of 2012 (not to mention a personal friend to my brother and me), did his research. Anyone without prior knowledge of St. Bonaventure or the business building issue would have no idea what his poem means.
Right off the bat, the title has a meaning. The business building bears the name “Swan,” named after the couple providing funds for the building. A “swan song” is defined as a person’s final performance. Hosken’s last big performance in The Laurel is with “Swan Song.” It’s a lucky coincidence that the building it’s about will be named “Swan.”
Hosken uses personification for the lawn: “O Hallowed Ground! Your muddy surface tells / of your vast desecration and your pain. / The diggers come with claws to scratch your skin” … “and once you’ve been reduced to soggy mush, / they build a monolith upon your back.” The words “desecration” and “monolith” help set the tone of the poem. Hosken clearly dislikes the soon-to-be business building and its location.
Two of my favorite lines of his entire poem fall in the first stanza, directly after mentioning the monolith, Hosken writes, “vile villains will an urge to steal a view / and lock it in a chamber of commerce.” Hosken’s word choice is impeccable. The chamber of commerce (business) is literally a chamber, holding the view hostage.
Hosken turns the swan into a monster. “The monolith named for a delicate bird / turned mad by greed and violent now, complete / with a beak that pecks and tears out gazers’ eyes.” He calls the money donated “dirty” and reflects on Bonaventure’s past with names of those who came before us and saw inspiration in the view’s beauty. Then he ventures inside the new business building.
“Nature is but a painting on the wall, / an oil-on-canvas dangling from a string / to decorate a barren office space,” Hosken writes. So, basically, those who work in the building that ruins the view for others on campus have the privilege to sit in their respective offices and enjoy said view. To them, it’ll simply be a painting on the wall that is taken for granted.
Hosken then reflects on his own experience with the view. Maybe his Intellectual Journey professor moved class outside like mine often does and that’s where he first heard the work of Gerard Manley Hopkins. Maybe the mountains inspired him to write and that’s why he decided to add a major in English on top of his journalism/mass communication one. No matter what the reason, Hosken makes sure the reader knows that crushing the view is a personal letdown to him.
“Father Gerard,” as Hosken refers to Hopkins (whoa, their last names are eerily similar!), makes an appearance in another favorite line of mine: “Or you, solemn foot-fields where numerous / generations have traipsed, have tramped, have trod.” His use of alliteration can be accredited to Hopkins, who used the same sort of alliteration in his poem “God’s Grandeur,” with the same effect. Hosken writes, in his second-to-last stanza: “I won’t forget the seconds I have spent / with all the pied beauty of this fair place, / and though we can’t return to what we know, / and though we’ll long for open fields and lawn / and see atrocious squares of grey instead” … “we take our forest with us in our minds.”
Hosken’s words are beautiful. The first few pages of the Spring 2012 issue of The Laurel should not be overlooked. They will forever be documented in The Laurel‘s extensive archives. Hosken, along with comrade Chris Radey, made sure they went out with a bang for their last issue of The Laurel as Editors-in-Chief.
They took a risk. Hopefully reverberations will be heard for years to come.
Their effort thoroughly impressed me. It should impress you, too.
And now, for your reading pleasure, the first few pages of The Laurel.
I have dreamed (dreamt? – that one boggles my mind) of this day for months and months. Graduation was a big deal, yes, but what came after graduation was what I needed for this day that I have been looking forward to for a long time.
Right now, I am sitting in my room typing out this blog post. You may recall that I own a little pink Netbook named Eurydice and have owned her for nearly two years now. She’s done a good job with helping me fulfill my duties as a journalist for two different publications. Now, however, I am not using Eury for this post. I love my Netbook, but knew I would need something a little bigger to get me through college and its whopping homework assignments I have heard so much about (especially for my major). That’s why today I purchased an iMac with money from my graduation party.
My family owns an iMac, but it’s nearly four years old. It’s the same style as my new one, but mine is just so much better – Apple has made so many improvements to these things over the years and it is just remarkable. For example, my wireless keyboard is quite a bit different than the one connected to our computer downstairs. It’s smaller, sleeker and, though it requires batteries in order to work, is far more efficient. I can move around my room and still have my words appear on my screen as I type them on the keyboard from 6 feet away. The wireless mouse is just as nifty. It too is sleek and easy to use, but what is the absolute best feature of it as far as I can find right now is that the rolly ball in the center for scrolling has been removed. On our computer downstairs, that little ball always causes problems by sticking and making it so we can’t scroll up, down or across. Now, with just a few swipes of my fingers, my eyes can scroll through documents and apps on my computer effortlessly.
My Netbook did the job, but the screen quality is nothing compared to this stunning piece of art right in front of me. I used my Netbook almost strictly for writing for my jobs and didn’t really use it to surf the web (unless I was really lazy and wanted to be in front of the TV). Now, I’m writing tons of new blogs, checking my email, Facebook and taking a funny picture or two on Photo Booth (though I have yet to enjoy that feature – odds are I won’t be too thrilled since we have it on our other computer, too). The screen is absolutely massive and I have to actually move my head to watch these words travel across the giant and beautiful screen.
I’m uploading CDs and starting to rebuild my music library on my own personal and beautiful computer. Nobody else’s music will litter my music library and that thought is exhilarating. The Sims 3 is installing right now (I splurged!) and I’m just plugging away at this post, anxiously awaiting the arrival of my favorite computer game of all time.
I’m excited and ready to enjoy this computer that I have sought after for so long. I’m glad I chose a different road and didn’t purchase a laptop like all three of my brothers did. This desktop iMac is perfect for me and what I plan on doing with my life.
Normally I try to have a reason why I am writing on my blog, but tonight I do not seem to have one. Oh well, I’ll just let the creative juices flow and make some lemonade. (Ha, geddit? Lemonade? I crack myself up.)
I don’t feel like being outlandish anymore. I’m too tired in the morning to bother with my usual crazy and quirky mismatching outfits. Every day it’s just jeans, a tee shirt, and my main pair of Chucks. My blue ones haven’t been touched in months, my old black ones are sleeping peacefully somewhere, my brown and pink ones have only certain outfits that they match with, and my new camouflage ones have only been on my feet once or twice since I got them for Christmas. Is there such thing as being depressed by lack of new clothing articles? I think I may be experiencing something of this sort. I need something new to wear, pronto! (Even though there are several items in my closet that still have pricetags on them…) Maybe tomorrow I’ll dig out my “hooker” boots that haven’t been in use since, oh, February-ish. I can see the snow falling from where I am sitting now. We have made it to the month of April safe and sound – doesn’t Mother Nature owe us all a break? (Though I must thank Her for this last chance *knocks on wood* to use my lovely boots.)
I want graduation to get here. At the beginning of the year I couldn’t bear the thought of my friends leaving me behind, but now I’m at the point where I want to shove some of them out the window and yell “GOOD RIDDANCE!” I’m sick of their stupid drama and recent bout of Senioritis that engulfed them all. Just let me be in peace in the hell where I must spend two more years of my life. Years filled with unnecessary mathematical equations that I will need only to pass the stupid NYS Regents tests that we are forced to take every January and June. Next year comes the test that I have mixed feelings about: English. It doesn’t matter if you have talent when it comes to writing, if you forget a literary element (Zeus forbid) and you fail to match up to the criteria set before you, you’re practically screwed. Being forced into a piece of wood by a giant hammer is not my idea of a good time.
Everyday it’s the same routine. Get up at 6:50ish-7:00ish, “Oh crap! I have to take a shower!” Hurriedly strip thyself, wash thyself, dry thyself, clothe thyself, eat/drinkfeed thyself, and get thyself out the door before the clock can strike 7:23. At least I have a very organized list set in my head before I do anything. If I did not possess this skill, I would be doomed to fail. I don’t have time to bother with the outfits I used to sport all the time. I grab my stuff, make sure Pandora is in my pocket, and get in the car before mom starts honking the horn. I need something new. I need something different. I need something exciting to happen that will spice things up, but only for a little while so they can go back to normal again. I don’t like change, but temporary change would be okay. Watch, now I’ll wake up in the morning and find that I’ve switched bodies with my brother overnight. I don’t know what I want. Definitely not a dramatic change, Zeus, but a little spice would be nice.