Brave Woman

Adventures of a future nurse-midwife


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Collegeprowler: Musings on Berkeley

Posted by Lucille on November 5, 2011 at 11:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Obviously Berkeley is a study-hard kind of school. What they didn't put in the brochures is that it's a study-hard, party-hard kind of school. Drugs are everywhere. And nobody pressures you to take them yourself, but there is an assumption that you're okay with being around it. People smoke marijuana indoors without bothering to ask if anyone minds. Prescription stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin are pretty common around midterms. Now I'm down for a good party every now and then, but come on, every night of the week? I looked up Berkeley on (I must have lived under a rock, because I didn't hear about this site before college), and here are some of the things it said:

       Academics: A. 81% of students had a HS GPA of 3.75 or above. World-renowned faculty.

       Campus housing: C+. This I can attest to myself, I'm so glad I avoided the dorms.

       Cost: D.

       Diversity: A-. 69% of students are minorities.

       Drug Safety: C+, for an "overly accepted drug culture".

Collegeprowler also has a ranking for the love scene, Guys 'n' Girls. First, an excerpt from daily life. I was studying French in the living room today when some guys came over and grouped around a computer. I surmised from the things they were saying that they were doing research to try to decide if the girl one of them had hooked up with the night before had finished. At first I was amused, but then when they kept going over the encounter loudly and in graphic detail while I was trying to study, I started to get a little annoyed.

       "You could, you know, ask her," I suggested. His friends looked up at me.



       The guy who had done the hooking up shrugged. "Can't. I never got her name."

       They used a mathematical formula they found online to determine that she had, in fact, come, and I moved my books to a quiet table in the study room and thought about sex. Stupid males. I was actually concentrating before that. Then some other women came in the room, who had heard the guys' conversation and were discussing their hook ups from the night before (this was on a Wednesday, by the way.) One of them asked me if my most recent hook up had been attractive and we ended up talking. "Doesn't it ever seem, you know, disatisfying?" I asked, "I mean, why not go for a real relationship?"

       She looked shocked at my misunderstanding. "Of course I want a real relationship," she said, "But I'm a student at Berkeley. I don't have time."

       She went back to talking with her friends, and I went back to unsuccessfully trying to focus on French. But for some reason what she's said stuck with me. I hadn't thought about it before, but out of all the people I've met, only three of them are in relationships. And they're all seniors. I recently discovered an interesting detail about the house's sex tally: if you're in a relationship, it doesn't count. In my mind, that makes it a hook up tally. Sex without the emotional component is not sex, it's an entirely different experience. But when I tried to raise this perspective, the person I asked said, "No, if you're in a relationship, it's not sex-- it's a relationship." Language confuses me.

       Obviously I only see a small proportion of campus life, so I decided to consult collegeprowler to see if this view was widespread.

       Guys 'n' Girls: B. "Hookups are most prevalent, but casual relationships are not uncommon. Many students don’t have time for a serious relationship."

       I understand the importance of prioritizing. I decided against dating for a year and a half in high school. And, largely, it was worth it: I left with a 3.92 GPA and got into the number one public university in the US. But when I changed my mind, it wasn't a problem. I don't want to live in a place where love and passing are mutually exclusive.

SPLASH. There go my thoughts.

Posted by Lucille on November 5, 2011 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Every now and then my brain gets too full and the only way to rectify the situation is to spew all my conflicting, swirling thoughts out onto paper (or, in this case, the internet). You've read the important part, the next few posts are me comparing schools, weighing options, and sharing musings on the world.

People Plan. God Laughs. (read this)

Posted by Lucille on November 5, 2011 at 10:40 PM Comments comments (0)

I have some news. There are a lot of things I don't know and a lot of questions yet to be asked, but these are the basics. The Regents of the University of California announced an 81% fee increase. Yes, 81. Over four years. There's a protest next week, which I plan on attending, but I'm not sure it will do anything.

       Total fees for an out of state student currently work out to $54,000 a year, and the school has almost no money available for aid. (And still has frightening deficits like a lack of textbooks for some programs and buildings that would collapse and kill us all in the event of a quake.) Now I don't know if the fee increase applies to the out of state fee-- if it does, that would make costs almost $100,000 a year--but either way, I can't afford it. I was getting nervous about the amount of debt I was accepting in the first place. So my parents made the suggestion that I consider an Oregon school for next year.

       Frankly, the idea of uprooting again and starting over somewhere new makes me want to curl up under my covers and hide. But when I think about pouring more energy into making Berkeley home and developing friendships over the rest of the year, and then leaving-- every cell in my body rejects it. If there's going to be more change, I want to get it over with now.

       Coming to a decision is always the hardest part for me, and once it's been made, I'll jump into it with full commitment. It turns out I still have mad research skills. Half an hour later, I'd compared the school size, rankings, campuses, programs, housing, and cost of every school in Oregon. Somebody get me a cape. I am Research Woman- with awesome, superhuman abilities to crunch numbers and dig out secrets, and the power of the internet at my fingertips. I called to briefly confer with my parents, and a couple hours later I'd applied to PSU.

Bake Sale!

Posted by Lucille on November 5, 2011 at 10:30 PM Comments comments (0)

GRL beta class (which totals six people including me) needed to do a fundraiser so we could put together a camping trip. So everyone came over to the house and we spent a couple hours making pumpkin cheesecake pie, shortbread, chocolate chip cookies, cranberry scones, and brownies. We got to eat any that came out slightly burnt or fell apart (they were still delicious) and then we got a food license, put up a facebook event, and advertised that we'd be giving out free hugs. Operation successful: We made $80! And had some left over scones. (Yum!)

If I Was In Firefly, I'd Be A Reaver

Posted by Lucille on November 5, 2011 at 10:00 PM Comments comments (1)

At this blanket-making activity, there was pizza and boxed wine. I'd never had alcohol before (Africa doesn't count, you see) but I figured what the heck, this is honestly the safest situation with alcohol I'm ever going to be in, I might as well give it a try. So I got a glass of wine with everybody else. Then, for the sake of correcting my ignorance, I asked, "Okay, so for someone about my height and weight who's never had alcohol before, how much would you have to drink to feel a difference?"

       After the predictable, "Wait, you've never had alcohol before?" they looked dismissively at the glass in my hand and said, "Way more than that." Reassured, I ate my pizza and drank my glass of wine, feeling very French, and tied strips of fleece together while a couple people at the computer alternated between looking up porn videos that had been filmed at Berkeley and watching youtube footage of snoring kittens.

Basically...they were wrong.

        I had expected that, if I did become mildly intoxicated, it would be the warm fuzzy connected feeling other people had described to me. The opposite happened. The night was starting to wrap up by that point, so thankfully it didn't affect the get together too much, but maybe half an hour to an hour after dinner I started to feel very strange. The apartment, which had seemed warm and cozy to me before, started to feel cold and spacious. The people I'd regarded with such affection an hour before suddenly seemed like strangers. "Who are these people?" I thought, "What am I doing here?"

       We grabbed our stuff shortly after that, and I went home. I was feeling really weird by that point and starting to decide that I didn't like it. I opened my computer and pulled up pictures of my family, my ex boyfriend, and my friends from high school, and I felt absolutely nothing. It was like looking at pictures from a movie you've heard about but never seen: you know who they are, and even their relationships to each other, but there is no emotion. None. It should have scared the shit out of me, but the same clinical detachment seemed to apply to my fear. "Hmm. I've never felt like this before. Drinking is the only thing I did today that I've never done before. I'll drink some water and go to sleep and it will probably go away."

       When I woke up in the morning, I opened my computer to the same pictures, and was immediately overcome with nostalgia and intense affection, and I was scared retroactively that I could ever look through photos of these people and not feel that emotional response.

       I've heard that people with certain conditions can respond counterintuitively to drugs, like people with ADHD who calm down when they have caffeine. Is it possible that I'm in that warm fuzzy stage of being intoxicated naturally, and drinking snaps me out of it?

       Comparatively it wasn't a very bad first drinking experience. No humiliating stories, no vomit, no morning-after regrets. But it didn't really leave me with a desire to do that again.


Posted by Lucille on November 5, 2011 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Every semester each class in GRL does a community service activity--I was picturing a rainy day pulling up ivy or a cold night handing out sandwiches downtown--and we decided to make baby blankets to donate to the local women's shelter. So we holed up in a cozy apartment with piles of yellow, blue, and purple fleece (GRL and Berkeley colors) and drank hot cocoa while engaging in general shenanigans. Definitely my favorite way to spend a rainy afternoon.

I Was Right

Posted by Lucille on October 30, 2011 at 4:40 AM Comments comments (0)

I was rebellious today. I decided to stay up until two in the morning to watch a movie I'd wanted to see all year. Toward the end of it two of my housemates walked by.

       "Whatcha doin'?"

       "Watchin' Serenity." I smiled. "I'll go to bed soon, but it seemed like a good day to stay up until...two."

       "Ha! I haven't slept in four days!" one girl said.

       The other girl turned to her. "I already ate a sandwich this morning," she said, " hours ago? Do you think it'd be okay for me to eat another one?"

       At last, conclusive proof. I am an alien.

Challah-v A Good Time

Posted by Lucille on October 29, 2011 at 1:05 AM Comments comments (0)

It's 2AM. I just got back from a dance meet up in San Francisco.

       I learned the Israeli dance to Shakira. There were hips, and they didn't lie.

Happy Halloween!

Posted by Lucille on October 29, 2011 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

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      <o>             <o>


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My Brother Carved A Pumpkin

Posted by Lucille on October 29, 2011 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (1)