Like thousands of other twenty-somethings across the country, I’m graduating from college this spring. In fact, I’m graduating this week. It still hasn’t quite sunk in yet, though that might be due to the fact that I have 5+ years of grad school ahead of me. Fun!
I never went to a football game, stayed up no later than 10 pm on weeknights, and maintained my admittedly bizarre and anachronistic 19th-century teetotaling ethos the entire four years–but even so, I’m still going to miss being an undergraduate at the University of Alabama. And maybe it is all that 19th century research, but I’m feeling a little sentimental.
In that vein, here is a list of my Top 3 Proudest Moments as a college student–all of them being very, very strange.
1. Reformation! The Musical
When I was in middle school, I was president of the Drama Club and performed in a number of musical productions. I was so good that, in fifth grade, I was the understudy for the Artful Dodger in Oliver Twist. In eighth grade, I was the understudy for Wendy in Peter Pan.
I was an awesome understudy.
It’s only logical, then, that I got my breakout starring role this year as Martin Luther in “Reformation! The Musical,” a short film I wrote, filmed, edited, and bankrolled myself . I was amazed that so many of my friends actually agreed to participate. We were equally amazed at how horrible the movie turned out to be.
Our tagline? “The worst film in all of … history.”
Hey, you can’t say we didn’t have fun.
2. Team USA Quidditch at the World Cup
Way, way back in high school, I spearheaded the creation of a quidditch league at my school. That’s right, quidditch. We even got in the county newspaper, which would have been super awesome except that the reporter included the fact that the league was organized by a group of my friends and me passing notes in AP Calculus. Our teacher was quite gracious about the revelation–maybe because it was already pretty obvious that I was never going to pass that AP exam. As she told me before the test: “Let’s get this over with so you can use words for the rest of your life.”
They gave me differential equations to solve. I wrote them palindromes.
Imagine my delight when an organization at UA hosted a massive quidditch tournament two years ago. I eagerly got a team together (mostly composed of my Reformation! cast mates). We lost. But this year, this year, I was determined that we would win. Well, win one game anyway. After all, we were Team F*cking USA.
It was a dramatic final five minutes. The Snitch ran onto the quidditch pitch in a sweat, both Seekers (one of them my precious younger sister) in hot pursuit. I was playing Beater, but had thrown my last bludger at an enemy player. The other team’s Seeker was getting closer and closer to the tennis ball dangling from the back of the Snitch’s pants. My sister, exhausted but still determined, having stripped out of her sweatpants into pink running shorts right on the field, was only a few steps behind. I shouted to my team’s other Beater: “Aim for the Seeker!” She had a bludger in her hands and, in one last desperate act, pelted the enemy Seeker in the balls. He doubled over in pain, and my sister caught the Snitch.
I had never loved her so much as I did that moment, and I doubt I ever shall again.
3. Senior History Honors Thesis
About three weeks ago I defended my senior history Honors thesis, a microhistory of youngest daughter of a white cotton planter and enslaved African American woman in Reconstruction-era Alabama. I’d give more details, but I think this could turn into a dissertation and I’m terrified of my story getting scooped before I have a chance to publish. There’s a reason they call academia the School of Hard Knocks.