A friend of mine recently told me I was one of the rudest people he knew.

I wasn’t offended.

First of all, I really appreciate it when people are forward with me. If they are clear and honest with their word, I’m a happy person. Even if they are painfully honest, I’m cool with it. Better painfully honest than constantly tiptoeing around subjects. Which leads to my next point.

I already knew.

I have a strong, assertive personality that I got from my mom. My siblings all inherited her personality as well. I explained that my rudeness stemmed from the environment I grew up in.

All the strong personalities under a single roof did not create the most ideal circumstances. When strong personalities meet, they clash, hard. My siblings and I all grew thick skins and explosive tempers. We learned that we needed to fight in order to make it through each and every day. Before we all moved out, a week wasn’t complete without some screaming showdowns.

Not long after I explained my circumstances to my friend I stopped and thought about how my personality affected my life before UPS and after arriving.

I never really learned to “turn off” that strong personality whenever I left home. It had become so integrated into my identity that if I did manage to turn it off, I wouldn’t be me. So, this personality that had been forged from a necessity to survive became a necessity to my identity. How I think this affected my life is interesting and shameful, which just a touch of hilarity. I mean, why else would I be writing this?

Last summer, I had a job at a summer camp. I really enjoyed it. My coworkers were great, which in turn made my work environment just as great. I grew to love waking up at 6 every morning to catch the train to work (this was just a day camp held at Stanford University). Every day made me smile. So it was bittersweet when I had a week off in the middle of the summer. I would get a break from nightmarish campers and parents, but I wouldn’t get to crack stupid jokes with my coworkers or geek out about computer stuff (this was a technology camp).

Every Friday, we’d host an open house so our campers would be able to show off their projects to their parents. Every classroom had at least one staff member assigned to it while everyone else was spread out into support roles. My role every week was to stand at the entrance and direct parents to their kid’s classroom.

After I returned from my week off, one of my coworkers told me that he had to take my place that last Friday. My boss told him, “Be like Kevin, but less aggressive.” Wow boss, I don’t know whether to be flattered or offended. Flaffended? Ottered? Whatever, you get the idea.

Thing is, my boss and all of his bosses loved me. They loved my personality and thought it was hilarious how no matter how much I yelled and shouted at the kids, quite a few would name me as their favorite staff member when we did end of the week surveys. Kids are weird.

Too bad I had to learn that shouting only works on kids the hard way.

The second night after the freshmen moved in, a bunch of my floormates gathered in our lounge to get to know each other and start to bond as a floor. Things went pretty well, then I introduced Psychiatrist.

Psychiatrist is a party game I learned last summer from my coworkers. I won’t go into details, but I found that it’s a really fun game because it’s a great way to get to know funny things about people.

Being an excited college freshmen, my floormates didn’t listen to me. I really didn’t, and still don’t, blame them. We all just moved in and were still settling in and getting to know everyone. However, I reacted in a less than ideal way.

I told them all to be quiet, in a much less polite and much more vulgar way. What a great way to start off my relationship with my floor. Spent a lot of nights laying in bed thinking about that.

It’s easy to point fingers and blame people for my behavior. My mom gave me my personality. My family encouraged it to grow into what it is  today.

But the only one to blame is me. I’m aware of this issue and don’t put very much effort into correcting it. I do try to filter my language and reel in my temper. And I’m becoming more successful with that. But, it’s just too easy to slip back into old habits sometimes.

But maybe part of me knows that it’s good to slip back into those old habits. I’d be staying true to myself rather than trying to be someone I’m not.

Yes I’m loud, rude, vulgar, stubborn and impulsive. But that’s me. That’s Kevin.bad guy

Three Semesters In

It’s one of the first things you do when you decide on a college. One of the first things you do when touring a college. A way to say: I am here! A declaration of support for the school, for the memories you’ll make here. It’s the awkward, slightly embarrassed feeling that overcomes you, as you stand and smile and people walk past you. It’s jumping up and stretching your mouth into the widest smile you can manage. Standing on top. Sitting in front.

The picture equivalent to the college sweatshirt you wear with pride senior year of high school. The clarification that, no, it’s pronounced “puge-it” not “pug-it.” It’s the grass that is always green and slightly damp. The flowers that are always blooming.

I don’t know why I didn’t take a picture when I first toured the school, summer before senior year of high school. The sun was high that day and campus was absolutely gorgeous. On admitted students day there were so many people around and I was so determined to decide, is this the right place for me? to bother with pictures. The only picture I have of that day is me walking in front of Jones, it’s blurry and I’m laughing, because my mother had been lost moments before. (“It’s the brick building,” someone had told her. She had looked at him flabbergasted: “They’re all brick.”) Move-in day freshman year I was too focused on getting everything unpacked. Having my garden-level room feel like home. Meeting people, putting in an effort to make new friends for the first time in years. Coming back for sophomore year, my mom must’ve mentioned it a half a dozen times. “Talena, let’s get a picture in front of the sign!” I nodded at her every time, but never made an effort to actually get the picture taken.

I was cognizant of the fact that it is slightly embarrassing, standing up there. It is much less like a goofy picture of you and and your friends and more like a statement: Here we are. It wasn’t until yesterday, while we were waiting for someone to run back for a jacket, that the thought of getting a picture in front of the sign came back to me.

“Gaea, let me get a picture of you in front of the sign,” I proclaimed, pulling out my phone.

She gave me a flat look. “You should be in it too.”

So there we stood at last, grinning and laughing and feeling a bit like idiots in front of the sign, in front of the school we were so proud to go to.



The other day I walked to church. It was windy, so I walked with my hood pulled over my head. Puddles had formed in the sides of the street and leaves were floating in the puddles. A man sat on the sidewalk underneath the sign of a CD store. His shoes were torn around the soles and his toes were sticking out. He held a piece of cardboard, asking for money. I saw a rotting banana peel on the ground next to him. I made eye-contact with him. He pointed to the sign. I shook my head. He let his head roll onto his shoulder and I kept walking.

I got to church early. I walked into the chapel and found my usual seat in the fifth row. I sat and looked at the purple and green stained glass windows. I ran my fingers over the back of the pew in front of me. The wood was smooth and cold to the touch. I breathed into my hands and rubbed them together, then stuffed them into my pockets.

During worship, a woman sat next to me. After she had taken off her jacket, she straightened and began to sign in sign language. She was signing to the lyrics of the songs. I didn’t turn but watched her movements from the corner of my eye. She altered the positions of her fingers in succession, flicked her wrist, and, every so often, touched her forehead. At times, she resembled a conductor; at others, she looked like a typist. She signed to the melody of the song, which made me realize that, of course, she could hear. She just couldn’t speak.

When the pastor asked us to introduce ourselves to our neighbors, I turned away from the woman who had been signing. I didn’t know how to introduce myself and how I would learn her name. I shook hands with everyone around me. Then I sat down and stared at the communion cups stacked on the backside of the pew.

The woman touched my shoulder. She had brown hair and brown eyes, and I could see the gold chain of a necklace hanging off of her collarbone. She smiled and held out her hand. Her wrist was thin and on its underside I could see veins. I stood and shook her hand.

I said, “I’m Matt.”

She nodded. She could hear.

I said, “What’s your name?”

She smiled and signed her name to me. I could pick out four discrete letters, or signs, but couldn’t read them.

I shrugged. I checked around for a piece of paper and a pencil but couldn’t find one.

She held out her hand as if wanting me to take it. I raised my hand and held it next to hers. She grabbed my hand and stepped closer. I let my arm slacken. She propped it on her arm and held my hand in the nook of her elbow. Then she pushed up my sleeve and, using her finger, traced her name on my arm. She traced slowly and in capital letters. Her nail ran over my skin and over my veins.


She nodded.

“Short for Victoria?”

She nodded.

“It’s nice to meet you,” I said, offering my hand.

She smiled and nodded and shook my hand and signed something to me.

The Girl Gang Takes Europe

After my time in Rome with my connections class (see my post about it here!) this summer, my two classmates and friends Ashley Dyas ’16 and Marissa Irish ’16 and I decided to hop around Europe a bit more before heading back to Tacoma. It’s much easier to get around once you’re actually in Europe, so we popped on over to France first!

Paris was incredible. Everything was so ornate and beautifully decorated. I took another 1000 pictures and did my best to narrow it down!IMG_8283

Ashley and Marissa enjoy some tea and the Lourve!

Ashley and Marissa enjoy some tea and the Lourve!

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We visited tons of museums and landmarks together and a few I explored on my own. Being able to see so much of the art I’ve studied for years was absolutely amazing.

Sleeping Satyr at the Lourve

Sleeping Satyr at the Lourve

The man himself at the Musee d'Orsay!!

The man himself at the Musee d’Orsay!!

Notre Dame!

Notre Dame!


Venus de Milo from my day at the Lourve!

Venus de Milo from my day at the Lourve!


Saint Chapelle's incredible stained glass

Saint Chapelle’s incredible stained glass


Sunset from atop the Arch de Triumph

Sunset from atop the Arch de Triumph

The incredible Eiffel Tower light show! (+ wine)

The incredible Eiffel Tower light show! (+ wine)

And of course, Versailles!11401050_10153318545037778_4163417482216312284_n 11750656_10153415269812778_2351390037476634444_n

I also visited the Musee de l’Orangerie one day and spent a GOOD amount of time there. This museum has Monet’s wall-length waterlilies. I could have stayed there the entire day.1554382_10153318530712778_1759955177898767452_n 11218847_10153318530837778_3105371976277154698_n

During our visit to the Musee d’Orsay, I accidentally stumbled across my absolute favorite painting… and proceeded to cry in front of a large tour group. Marissa took a photo to commemorate the experience.

La Naissance de Venus by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

La Naissance de Venus by William-Adolphe Bouguereau + me and my tears

That was not the last of the art related tears, however! I was also fortunate enough to see my favorite sculpture in my trip to the Lourve —  the Winged Nike of Samothrace. Cue tears.11202586_10153415272737778_5102054882180537456_n


This was on my second visit…and I didn’t even cry that time!

So I covered the art, one of the best things about France. But I left out one of the most important things… FOOD.

Crepes for days!!

Crepes for days!!

I even tried escargot! (I pretended it fit under the pescatarian diet)

I even tried escargot! (I pretended it fit under the pescatarian diet)

So many desserts...

So many desserts…



Our latest obsession: fancy tea!!

Our Paris obsession: fancy tea!!

After our time in Paris, we visited somewhere I’ve always dreamed of going: Ireland. But there’s even more pictures for that story, so I think it deserves it’s own post! So au revoir for now!

Treat Yo’self.

Fall break has officially begun! But before I was able to celebrate my future four day weekend, I had to make it through midterms. So in order to cope with the stress of little sleep and enough art history flashcards to make your head spin, my buddy (and fellow UT Improv co-leader) Dylan and I took a trip to the Metropolitan Market.

I know what you’re thinking. A minivacation to a market? But trust me, it’s so much more. It’s a wonderland. An expensive wonderland for a college student, but a wonderland never the less. We went with one mission in mind: stress relief sweets. Our mantra? Treat yo’self. You see, it was also the anniversary of perhaps the most important Parks and Recreation episode of our generation.

So, we treated ourselves. Dylan went with gelato while I reunited with my one true love… The Cookie. That’s right, THE Cookie. I’d explain to you the simple perfection of this baked beauty but no words can do it justice. It’s basically the most wonderful combination of all things chocolatey and delicious, just gooey enough in the center to melt away all stress and sadness. Basically heaven incarnate in a cookie. Next on the list? Beverages. An easy choice too, since no normal human can resist chocolate milk. (Unless you hate chocolate milk, which is totally fine ’cause that’s your opinion. I mean, you’re wrong, but y’know. It’s fine.)

With sweets in hand, we made our way out into the cool autumn evening. Before enjoying the spoils of our adventure, however, we couldn’t resist the neat little photo opp set up for us just outside the market doors. Dylan blends in perfectly.Taking a little break amidst the tests and essays was well deserved and necessary, and now we’re free, with a lovely first day of fall break before the second half of the semester picks up! Here’s to that lovely turn of phrase, treat yo’self!

What Big Teeth You Have

In which we are faced with the curious knock of the wolf at the door.


To my dear reader,

If you were to ask me about one thing in my life that I truly cared about, one of my first responses would be my pet Golden Retriever, Cinnamon Buns Flores Wolfert. Dogs are, America tells us, man’s best friend. But sometime last summer, I got to thinking about how curious of a view this is. It’s not one that has always existed, as there was once a time when dogs’ predecessors – wolves – were a force to be feared and reckoned with. It’s certainly not one that all people share – as dog cuisine in countries such as China make evident. This is not to criticize such countries, but rather to consider the question, why do I so love an animal whose ancestors tried to gobble up Little Red Riding Hood? It is to answer this question that, over this past summer, I read Richard Francis’ Domesticated: Evolution in a Man-Made World



Francis’ non-fictional exploration behind the biological, evolutionary and anthropological precedence of domestication is built primarily upon one premise: that domestication is the process of perpetuating tameness in a species. Tameness, Francis asserts, has been continually demonstrated in both studies and animal industry to be something that necessitates a genetic predisposition. Most wild animals are predisposed to fear and dislike heavy contact with one another and with humans, contrasting with the such domesticated creatures as attention-loving Golden Retrievers and tightly-quartered cows. Perpetuating tameness comes down to two, non-exclusive processes: commensalism and breeding. Both occurred on the journey from wolf and dog.

Commensalism – a relationship between individuals of two species in which one species obtains food or other benefits from the other without either harming or benefiting the latter –  is often the first step of domestication. This was the origins of dogs when thousands of years ago, wolves stood as our most formidable competitors to be top of the food chain. Much like humans, wolves are social, hierarchical, and strategic. This pack-animal intelligence led to the more human-tolerant wolves to realize that they could scavenge humans’ scraps if they stayed near human settlements. Several generations later, the human-tolerant wolves survived more easily and passed along their tolerant genes, while the intolerant ones died more often and reproduced less.

Fast forward many more generations, and humans tentatively befriended the beasts that we once so feared. “If you can’t beat them”, said nature to the wolves, “join them,” and so they became our tentative hunting companions. It was not until humans began to breed them – to control wolf reproduction, allowing only the friendliest of wolves to mate – that true tameness became genetically ingrained. The perpetuation of human tolerance came with its own genetic package that can be found in almost every domesticated animal: one which includes things such as baby-like facial features, increased empathy, and quickened sexual maturity. This essentially meant the perpetuation of youthful characteristics into adulthood.



But how curious this all is! Let us take a moment to really, truly, consider the journey from wolf to dog. So many of the Western world’s fairy tales and legends include some sort of wolf as a villain. Little Red Riding Hood and her Grandmother get eaten by one, the Three Little Pigs’ property is invaded and damaged by one, and a professor of Hogwarts School of Witchcrft and Wizardry is cursed to become one at the full moon. Wolves are, so it seems, devious and terrible creatures intent on the worst. This is not to praise or criticize with this common Western view, but rather to contrast it with the view of dogs impressed on us now. Dogs are, so they say, intelligent beyond expectation and loyal to a fault.  Dogs are, in a way, a testament to the power that humans have to shape nature.

Once more, this is not to praise or criticize the fact. It is rather that I find it so terribly curious how Cinnamon Buns Flores Wolfert and I are so happy to see one another, despite the fact that, were I to come home to a wolf, I would be terrified (and so might the wolf). I love her because long ago, my ancestors bred love into her ancestors’ very blood, and her ancestors were brought to their knees. All this, after all that time, when they said

Knock knock knock, let me in, let me in

and we said

Not by the hairs on my chinny-chin-chin.


With all due respect,

Daniel Wolfert

Point Defiance Park

I feel like, at times, people can easily get caught up in the blatant grandeur of the words ‘adventure’, ‘journey’, or ‘expedition’. Don’t get me wrong, these words are fantastic and I’m inspired by them just as much as the next person. But often, when we consider the weight of these words and allow them to govern our dreams and aspirations, in comparison to our actual lives, we can quickly become powerfully discouraged. It’s as if, in one moment, those words are lifting us up, challenging us to pursue the unknown, but in the next, we feel guilty for not doing so nearly as often as we want to. We’re left, rather stuck, in a difficult limbo between our goals and our realities.

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The obligatory photographer foot shot; post-bike-ride and pre-hike.

For the longest time I was plagued by this condition, until I realized something that’s shaped the way I think about those aforementioned words. It goes like this: even though those terms do have dictionary definitions, that doesn’t have to be how you choose to define them. Let me give you an example of what I mean.

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A beautiful example of the Northwestern rainforest climate; a tree completely engulfed in undisturbed and lavish green moss.

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The famous ‘Five Mile Drive’ that provides drivers, bikers, and hikers access to Owen Beach, Fort Nisqually, and the rest of Point Defiance Park.

Tacoma’s surrounding locales are legitimately insane. On the west side you have the Pacific Ocean and the Olympics; on the north you have British Columbia; on the east you have Rainier, Baker, and the Cascades; and on the south you have Hood. Honestly, even thinking about it makes me feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven. So, when I get the itch to venture outside, that’s often where my mind goes. However, that poses a problem because it’s a little harder to get to Rainier or the ocean than one might expect; all you Tacoma natives know this.

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A staircase at Owen Beach.

So, a guy like me has got to get his fix somehow, right? That’s where Point Defiance Park comes in. At a modest five miles from campus, Point Defiance Park is easily accessible by bike, bus, or, if you’re really in dire straights, you could get on some hiking boots and walk it out. Point Defiance, or as most call it ‘Point D.’, is actually a city park, but it comes off as a state park when all of its amenities are taken into consideration. Not only does it provide beautiful vistas as well as exhibit some of the native flora and fauna, but it also has hiking trails, a beach, a marina, a ferry dock, a zoo and aquarium, a preserved fur trading post called ‘Fort Nisqually’, a pagoda, a zen garden, boat rentals, a restaurant… the list goes on. In all, Point Defiance has consistently allowed me to enjoy the Pacific Northwest outdoors in very attainable and practical ways.

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A large freighter floats through the Sound, into a wall of rain, en route to the Tacoma docks.

All of this being said, Point Defiance is definitely not Rainier, nor Hood, nor the Pacific Ocean, but it does provide me with enough adventure for a weeknight and it has helped me to realize that there’s not only beauty in the big, bountiful, and boisterous, but also in the small, nuanced, and quiet. Point D. has helped me come to know that it’s not the destination that defines an adventure, but rather the adventurer. Being able to find glory in the minutiae is, in my mind, a key characteristic of a great outdoorsman or woman.

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The inside of a small garage in the marina that I occupied for some much needed rain coverage.

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A small boat moored in the marina.

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A receding cloud line played backdrop to a group of gulls circling the marina.

Keep this in mind when you are feeling a little down about not climbing Rainier over fall break or kayaking to Portland for spring break, and consider checking out Point Defiance, or even Todd Field. Like I said, you define your adventure.

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The color-changing coastline amidst heavy rainfall.

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Two fisherman defy the tempest in order to procure baitfish off the dock.

Happy trails,

Colton Born

How Lovely You Are

In which Daniel is possibly brave or possibly foolish, or both, or neither.


To my dear reader,

The first time I realized that I liked a boy was in 4th grade. I was an awkward, unsociable child, and my 4th grade teacher was aware of this. When a boy from another school transferred into my homeroom class, she took the opportunity to force me to play with him.

Begrudgingly, we went out to the soccer field together during recess and, against both our wills, began to play with a Frisbee. My first throw went wildly amiss, forcing him to run across the field to catch it, and this is the moment that became burned in my mind – the boy sprinting, the sun turning the field into an ocean of precious light around him.

Of course, it was not like this, but this is the truth I created. I watched, transfixed, as he leapt to catch the Frisbee, and I childishly thought something like this:

How lovely you are.

I love you.

I did not, of course, love him. The boy made other friends, and I have long since forgotten those feelings. But what matters is that this was when I was suddenly, horribly aware of how he could never feel this way about me; how this fact would come crushing down upon me forever. This was, I think, when I began to become clinically depressed.


“How terribly young you were!” some exclaim. “How can you know that you were clinically depressed at such an age?”

I can never know for certain. But for those that wish to apportion blame for my inaction, give it to my love of fantasy. I assumed that the shuddering nausea with me from morning to night was simply the symptom of a hero waiting to be chosen for adventure. Surely, I thought, a giant will knock on my door or a witch will appear on my windowsill. If only I wait, my story will begin and I will not feel as if I am drowning every moment of every day.

But I confess that I was wrong. No giants knocked or witches appeared and every moment of every day was like drowning. I remember waking up on a school day 15 minutes past my alarm, and bursting into panicked tears. Surely I will be late, I thought, and then I shall be punished and I shall do poorly in school because that is what happens to children who are late. And then once I no longer have academic success I will have nothing but my books and this terrible feeling of drowning that never leaves me.

My mother did her best to console me, but we both knew perfectly well that I could arrive at school on time. Still, I cried.


I recently learned from the video linked below that a curious effect of depression is that it shrinks the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory and emotions. This effectively causes many depressed people to lose both clear memory and clear emotions. Everything, effectively, becomes a gray fog – and this is exactly what I felt.

I researched depression ravenously, but despite this knowledge, was certain that, somehow, my depression would simply fade. If not in elementary school, then in middle school. If not in middle school, then in high school, college, when I learned to play piano, when I did well on my SAT or ACT or something else inane and trivial. Practice does not make perfect – practice makes permanent. Repeat the same mistakes over again and they become who you are.

I distanced myself from it. Every time I would cry for no reason or wake up in the middle of the night in inexplicable panic, I thought, this is simply chemical imbalance in your brain, not who you are. But so much of me went into separating who I thought I was from what I thought I wasn’t that it didn’t matter; I became it anyway.

Coming into my final year at college, I had become aware of how much time I had squandered. I could not bear to let this last year go to waste. My appointment at the university’s Counseling, Health and Wellness Services on Thursday, October 1st, 2015 marked the first time that I sought professional help. This, then, was the story I had been waiting for, and there was no one to choose me but myself.


I often feel guilty, given my fortune. I have a loving family, a plump dog, a good education, and more tea than I could possibly drink. I am a gay, multi-ethnic Jew with opportunity – in most other times and places I would be ostracized or persecuted. Others have faced much worse than I and fared better. But this is the nature of depression; no matter my fortune, it is always there – the most dependable thing in my life.

But I am not here to be sad or angry or guilty. I am here to say that this is a real part of me that has existed since that day in 4th grade. To deny it would be foolish and wrong. Surely, there will be readers who cry out that my words are untrue or dangerous, that I exaggerate my sadness or simply seek attention. For those people, I have no words. My time is too precious to waste on them.

For everyone else, I will say this: my experience is one of many, so I claim no universality. I simply claim that I find truth preferable to lies. I simply claim that those who listen are few and far between, and if you are one, know that you are as precious as light. I have chosen this story for you.

How lovely you are.

I love you.


With all due respect,

Daniel Wolfert


Every semester the InterFraternal Council (IFC) and Panhellenic Council (Panhell) Programmers plan Greek Week. It’s basically the homecoming equivalent for Greek Life here at Puget Sound. We have a theme, we go to a volleyball game, host study hours, have a guest speaker, have a knowledge bowl competition, fundraising component  and last but definitely not least Greek Olympics. Its a full week for each of the houses to spend time within the whole Greek community cheering our volleyball team on at their rival game versus PLU, get those studying on for midterms, test our general knowledge for a fun night hosted by Order of Omega, the academic society within Greek Life and get a little athletic with tug-o-war, three-legged race, and more events at Greek Olympics.

greek week logo


This year’s event was themed medieval with members of Greek Life encouraged to dress as knights, peasants, princes and princesses, dragons, wizards and witches and more for activities.

In my sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, shorthand known as theta, Greek Week is an opportunity for our chapter to come together and have fun! (Because a little friendly competition always is fun 🙂 And I definitely had fun this semester because our chapter got really into it, decorating outfits for the medieval themed dress up together, crafted props for our logger outfits with axes and supporting each other through the events, cheering our team on at knowledge bowl and participating or fanatically cheering at greek olympics! it was also cool and always fun to see how spirited the other sororities and fraternities were, it really was a week full of greek love and support reminding us about the bonds in greek life and the values we uphold. #thinkgreek #upstheta


I live in an on-campus house, in a cul-de-sac off of Theme Row. The house is small and painted yellow and I always enter it through the backdoor. Next to the house is a lamp, and bolted to the base of the lamp is a payphone.

Every night when I walk back to the house, I see the payphone in the halo of light cast by the lamp. The phone is black and there are cobwebs stretched across the dial pad from 1 to 9. The receiver is attached to the phone by a silver ribbed cord that sways whenever a breeze passes.

I walk to the phone every night and contemplate it under the light. I never touch the phone. Instead, I watch it like a child on a hill away from the city watches the stars. It’s like a nightlight. A soft, contained light in the middle of our cul-de-sac. It watches over us while we sleep or lay awake dreaming.

I like walking back to the house at night and seeing the light of the payphone. I tell myself I’ll use it one day to call someone at home. I pull a rusty quarter out of my pocket and place it on top of the box. It slides onto the metal with a soft clank.

A car passes on Alder Street. Its tires emit a soft hum as they roll over the gravel of the road. Its headlights brush the tips of grass on the side of the street.

It’s dark and my roommate is sleeping. I walk quietly into the room and close the door behind me. I put on my pajamas and set my alarm. Before I crawl into bed, I look out the window and glance the lighted payphone. Someone is standing in front of it, smoking a cigarette. He removes the paper from his lips and breathes out a cloud of smoke, which, as it rises, clings like fog to the leaves of a tree. He picks up the quarter that I left on the box and slides it into the coin slot. Then he waits a moment, puts the receiver to his ear and waits for the tone to sound.