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Editor's Desk

Editor’s Note

by Aileen Gray

Fresh off a plane, having been awake for more than twenty-four hours, excited, exhausted – it did not register as odd when the first question my Irish cab driver asked was whether I was voting for Obama or Romney in the upcoming election. The cabbie was friendly and feisty, and his inquiry was followed by many more uncensored questions very few Americans would address to a perfect stranger. Later, after I relayed this encounter and a dozen like it to my family, the full weight of cultural differences set in.

Since that time, I’ve wondered why we so often feel the need to censor ourselves, or far worse, censor others. Why is it that the old saying – never discuss politics or religion at the dinner table – still stands, and should it?

Literature does many things for us, but digging into the topics we frequently avoid is one of its most important functions. It goes where we won’t, demanding that we examine our behavior, challenging out convictions, and allowing us to question the controversial issues in society. Most of my favorite novels and stories do this with a vengeance. George Orwell’s 1984, Yann Martel’s Life of Pie, Walter M. Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz – each examines what is and speculates what might be, asking us to rethink how we view the world and how we view controversial issues themselves.

In this issue of The Collegian, we’ve embraced the very notion of controversy in an attempt to disband censorship and encourage greater debate not only in literary and artistic work but also in daily life. The issue this month tackles topics as diverse as infidelity, mental illness, corporeal punishment, and drug use. Whether these pieces resonate with you or not, I hope they will prompt you to reflect on the ideals you hold and the way you approach controversy in your own life.

Editor's Desk

Editor’s Note

Our October issue centered on the theme “Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast,” the idea being that we would focus on different kinds of adventures and adventuring. After the issue was published, I learned that one of the pieces in the issue, which dealt with personal struggle, could be seen as offensive or hurtful in the aftermath of the recent student suicide on campus. This reading of the text was not one that either the author or the editorial staff anticipated. But, the possibility of this interpretation is important and connects well to the theme of our current issue, “Perspective.”

The associations that a reader may bring to a literary work are often different than those that the author intends or imagines for the piece. Often, when readers’ lives have been shaken, their states of mind or points of view alter, leaving them open to make new discoveries in a work of art. Sometimes we are glad for the change and the fresh perspective that life can bring and sometimes not. Either way, a new point of view impacts the way we interpret what we read.

For instance, in my family, we have an annual ritual of reading Dickens’ A Christmas Carol out loud. Each year, as I listen to the familiar story, I find myself connecting to different characters and responding strongly to new scenes. Some years, I am most taken with the Ghost of Christmas Past and Scrooge’s joy at seeing old Mr. Fezziwig. Other years, I reflect on poor Marley’s ghost and the torment that regret causes. One year, when my father was in Afghanistan, I focused most on the suffering of the Crachit family and the comfort offered by Tiny Tim’s hopeful cheer. My emotional state impacted which part of the story I focused on, and at the same time, the story itself influenced my perspective on my father’s absence. The power of Dickens’ story to offer many layers of meaning and my ability to hear A Christmas Carol with fresh ears each year is what makes our family tradition so valuable.

We can turn to literature and find an explanation, some comfort, or a challenge to our way of thinking. For me, this is what makes literature worthwhile. In the November issue of The Collegian, our authors have examined the way particular viewpoints and dispositions inform both a reader’s and a narrator’s perspective. I invite you to read the following pieces today and again a year from now. Your perspective may shift in the interim, allowing you to discover subtle nuances and greater meaning that escaped your notice the first time through.

Cheers,

Aileen Gray

Editors Note

Editor’s Note

When we think adventure, we think pirate ships, sinister jungles, or foreign cities. We think, quite simply, of going new places and seeing remarkable things. But an adventure doesn’t have to mean a glamor­ous journey. Disappearing into the world of a novel or appreciating the moment of a short story can be just as captivating and just as meaningful as some grand journey. With the right attitude, any mo­ment of any day can become an adventure. ‘

In Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast, our authors and artists have pushed the boundaries of what constitutes adventure, digging through the ordinary to unearth the extraordinary. I invite you to join them and look for the adventure in your everyday, moments of wonder, of risk, of opportunity.

With this issue, The Collegian begins its twenty-fifth year as Washington College’s student literary magazine. As the new EiC, I am excited to embark on the adventure of this quadranscentennial and hope you’ll join me each month.

Cheers,

Aileen Gray

Editors Note

Editor’s Note

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as Editor-in-Chief this year. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of my wonderful staff, all of whom this publication would be nothing without. I especially want to thank my Layout Editors who spent long countless nights with me preparing the magazine for publication. Professor Dubrow also needs to be mentioned for her constant advice and motivating words.

It was a pleasure publishing the wonderful and diverse submissions from so many talented Washington College students. The Collegian offers a window into the joys, the pains, and the musings of students they may not otherwise be voiced. I thank all of the authors for being brave and baring their souls to world by submitting their works. It is not easy to open yourself up for criticism, but so many students submitted their works and let their voices be heard.

Congratulations to all the other graduating seniors and best of luck to the new Editor-in-Chief Aileen Gray! Have a wonderful summer, and thank you, everyone, for a fantastic year!

Best,

Abby Schwartz

Editors Note

Editor’s Note

Writing provides a permanent outlet to express to the world who you are as a person. It provides a record that you can go back and reflect upon later. Being a good writer entails anticipating your readers’ needs and fulfilling them through your ideas and imagery. Our March issue has no particular theme. This issue is an open forum for all ideas and thoughts from the young writers here at Washington College.

Writing without a clear topic can at times be more intimidating than following strict guidelines. When there are no restraints on creativity, your mind is free to wander and you never know what you may come up with. The following writings and photography are the result of untamed imaginations and shed light on the unique and creative minds here among us. As you sit and read this month’s issue, take a moment to yourself to just think and see where your own mind takes you.

Sincerely,

Abby Schwartz

Editors Note

Editor’s Note

Love has inspired writers and artists for countless centuries. Therefore, it is only fitting that this month’s issue’s theme should be love and friendship. Affection can be beautiful and reading about selfless love can take the reader through a whirlwind of emotion from anxiety to elation. But love is not always kind; sometimes love can take more than it ever gives. But no matter who the feelings are directed toward, be it love from a friend, family member, or significant other, love is one of the most powerful emotions known to man. It has the power to breathe life into someone or take that inner light away. So please take the time this month to read and enjoy some of the writings inspired by this complicated emotion. Maybe you will relate to some of the feelings or experiences expressed on these pages, or perhaps you will one day. Regardless, try to feel the emotions of your fellow classmates as they bare their hearts to you.

Sincerely,

Abby Schwartz

Editors Note

Editor’s Note

Nature has inspired writers and poets for centuries. Many have spent their lives describing the incomparable colors and structures found all over the Earth. Fall especially brings out beauty around us. Vivid oranges, yellows, and reds greet us with every leisurely walk in the cool crisp air. As Wordsworth put it best, “That though the radiance which was once so bright be now forever taken from my sight. Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower. We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind.” Do not grieve as the plants die and the Earth begins to sleep, but find beauty in what the changing of the seasons brings us. This month’s issue collects some of the best nature themed writings that our campus has to offer. Get cozy and sip some tea as you enjoy our latest issue and embrace the weather before winter sets in fully.

 

Best,

Abby Schwartz

Editors Note

Editor’s Note

Writing can be a liberating outlet for feelings, thoughts, or just energy in general.  This month’s issue focuses on all things creepy, spooky, and science fiction.  The worlds created in the imagination of a writer are some of the most fantastical and most complicated.  All of the writers within these pages channeled their creativity into imagining the unknown.  I invited you to join them and imagine as you read the haunted worlds their minds have created.

These frightening tales are meant to get you in the spirit for Halloween and Fall in general.  autumn is a beautiful season full of colors and flavors.  Walking in the crisp air can be topped off with a delicious pumpkin-flavored treat and a warm beverage.  Curly up and get cozy as you read this month’s issue of The Collegian and enjoy all the season has to bring!

Best,

Abby Schwartz

Editors Note

Editor’s Note

As a student at Washington College, you are exposed to the best a liberal arts education has to offer. Business majors are exposed to Wordsworth in a Dr. Gillian English class, and English majors are forced to learn statistics with Prof. Hamilton. Everyone discovers what they love and hate about majors, instead of just their own. But business majors may discover a love of poetry, but find themselves without an outlet for it. The Collegian offers a way for everyone to feel like a published author. We do not discriminate on any basis other than content. Any major can submit and finally receive feedback for talent.

I am ecstatic to be the new Editor-in-Chief of The Collegian. Our literary magazine serves as an open forum for writers of all walks at Washington College. We publish the best poetry, prose, short stories, and photography that our college has to offer. It is a wonderful experience being a part of something as diverse and as open as the Collegian. This year we have a brand new staff of writers and an all new freshman class submitting their works. I encourage you to get to know these students through their exquisite writing styles and discover which is your favorite.

Abigail Schwartz
Editor-in-Chief 2012-2013

Spain 2012: Why is Life So Good

by Sarah Masker ’13, Staff Writer

I could write about the shenanigans I’ve been getting into lately here in Ecuador, but that would be silly, because I haven’t even shared stories about my summer in Spain. Don’t go getting ahead of yourself, Sarah.

Let’s start by stating the obvious: Spain in July is hot. Hot, hot, hot. I studied at the Universidad de Alcalá in Alcalá de Henares for four weeks, and somehow I managed to survive without air conditioning. I wish I could say I also managed not to get sunburned, but everyone who knows me is also familiar with my evil twin, Sunburned Sarah, who likes to make frequent appearances throughout the summer months, and even occasionally in the winter. I write this with a red nose and the nickname Rudolph. So original.

When I tell people I spent a month in Spain, they get really excited and ask, “Where?” They expect me to say something like Madrid, Barcelona, or Granada…places they went on high school Spanish trips or vacations with Mom and Dad. Maybe the grandparents own a house there, or they visited once on that Europe tour that everyone but me seems to have experienced. The thing is, spending a week in Spain does not make them experts on the country; a lot of my American classmates suffered from this delusion. When I arrived in late June, a bunch of students had just finished up their first month of studies, and were ready for another round. One girl in particular considered herself quite the expert when it came to all things Spain. I received several lectures from her about Spanish laws that I had no intention of breaking, but of course she was just looking out for me. She definitely wasn’t trying to make me feel inferior.

Anyways, when people ask where I stayed and I answer “Alcalá de Henares,” the common response is a confused “Where?” These people, these wonderful geniuses who are so knowledgeable about El Reino de España that they could make bank as tour guides, have never heard of the town where Miguel de Cervantes was born and baptized. Miguel de who? Okay, people, take a literature class. Then brush up on those UNESCO World Heritage Sites. When you’re done with that, review some history, and ask yourself: where was Catherine of Aragon born? Oh yeah, Alcalá. I could just make the whole thing easier and say I was in Madrid – meaning the autonomous community of Madrid, where Alcalá is one of the largest cities – but that would just confuse those Spanish experts because they’d think I meant Madrid, la ciudad. What other kind of Madrid is there, you silly blond?

The next question people usually ask: “What did you do there?” Well, you see, I received one of five scholarships from Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, to study and learn, so those were kind of my main activities. If someone else wants to pay for my education, I’m going to make the most of it. I took two classes, and due to a schedule that was one part torture and one part brilliance, we managed to fit in a whole semester’s worth of information in just four weeks. I sat in a room with weird slanted desks for 2.5 hours, ran away to quickly down a weird, small coffee, and then returned to those weird slanted desks for another 2.5 hours of truly fascinating conversation. Four days a week. Always. The. Same. By the time the very last Monday arrived, I did something completely unprecedented, and slept through half of my first class. I don’t want to make excuses, but I did just return from a long weekend in Paris. “Professor, I’m a French minor. I had to go!” He wasn’t impressed.

Apart from the 80 hours I spent daydreaming/attempting to be intellectual in a classroom, I also spent a lot of time travelling. I arrived early to spend several days in Madrid, and after making some friends in my hostel, I went to the Santiago Bernebéu stadium to watch on the big screen as Spain took on Portugal in the Euro2012 semi-final. My Spanish swearword vocabulary was put to excellent use, and I almost got to watch my new Australian friend beat up a pothead who kept accidentally elbowing me. It was fantastic. When Spain beat Italy in the final, I was one of those maniacs running around town with Spanish flags painted on my cheeks. Hey, at least I wasn’t swimming in the fountains like some people.

I visited Chinchón, a small town that’s home to the world’s only square-shaped bull fighting ring. (No, I did not go to a bullfight while in Spain, even though I was there for the San Fermin Festival. Even if bullfights are part of the culture, I consider them inhumane, and don’t want anything to do with them). I went to Aranjuez to see the summer palace there, and that’s when I decided to start picking out a house for future Sarah. I still can’t decide between the palace in Aranjuez or Louis’ marvelous Versailles, which I visited while in Paris. I guess it depends on whether the Spanish or the French government is more willing to let me take up residence in an important historical building.

I went to Burgos, a town more to the North that also happens to be a stop on the Camino de Santiago. I saw El Cid’s tomb and a statue in his honor, and if you don’t know who he was, obviously you weren’t in my Special Topics class with Elena Deanda last fall. Your loss.

I spent two weekends in Andalucía touring Sevilla, Córdoba, and Granada. In Sevilla, I fell in love with the Plaza de España, and tried not to be too creeped out by the guy that tried to get me to follow him into the park “for a favor.” Even though I’ve never been to Morocco, I decided Córdoba had quite the Moroccan vibe. In Granada, I went to the Arab baths, and discovered that there is, in fact, heaven on earth. I also went out to a club that overlooks the Alhambra from its upper level, while the lower levels are caves. Yes, that’s right, caves; I went clubbing in a cave. Camborio was a blast; I highly recommend it. If you flirt with the guys right, they just might buy you drinks.

My last weekend was devoted to Paris. Paris is one of my favorite places in the world, as long as I choose to ignore the overpowering smell of urine. After a month of Spanish food (eggs, potatoes, lettuce with salt, white bread, unidentifiable meat), Paris was like a trip to Willy Wonka’s; my friend, Shannon, and I were eating six meals a day, and let me emphasize that we did not care. When we couldn’t decide between pasta or falafel, we had both. Pain au chocolat or an éclair? We had both. Wine and cheese or a real meal? You guessed it: we had both. I even tried cactus, and it was pretty good. The phrase of the trip quickly became “Why is life so good to us?”

In three days, I managed to do everything I wanted to while in Paris. I asked for directions without sounding stupid (at least I hope so), ate a baguette while wearing a beret, tried escargots and every other food my French classes ever taught me about, got sweared at by a rude waiter, and climbed the steps to Sacre Cœur without fainting. Paris truly is enchanting. Shannon and I listened to Edith Piaf while strolling along the Seine at dusk, and we even ran into other students from the university. Small world, right? The only things missing were singing gargoyles at Notre Dame and, of course, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. This English major really would have liked to meet them, dang it. Hollywood, way to disappoint me.

I learned a lot while travelling around Spain. I met two guys from Senegal while waiting for the bus to Sevilla, and I figured out really fast that switching back and forth between Spanish and French really isn’t my strong point. I’m pretty sure I made up my own language at one point there…let’s just call it Spench. I learned that calamari isn’t all that bad (ohh, but octopus is) and sangria comes in juice boxes, straw and all. I learned that Americans really are hopeless when it comes to history; every time my professor would ask who was president when this or that significant Spanish event occurred, we would go through maybe ten names before landing on the right one. Well, the rest of the class did. Not me, I’m brilliant.

As educational as my classes were (I am now an expert on Spanish art, which made visiting the Louvre ten times more exciting), the real lessons came from travelling around and having to navigate a foreign country on my own. Studying abroad isn’t like class; if I don’t know a word, I can’t just ask my English-speaking professor “Cómo se dice…?” and instantly expand my vocabulary. I can’t settle into old habits, like driving anywhere I want to go, and I can’t expect the grocery store to have all the foods I want. Living with a host family—and a grouchy cat—was completely new to me, but I came to Ecuador prepared. I like to think of my month in Spain as a warm up for this semester. I’ve already been in Quito for a month, and so far it’s been “pan comido” (a piece of cake), thanks to the wonderful opportunity that was my adventure in Spain.