creating a new (and improved) comfortability

The weirdest part about being halfway through my first semester of college is that I am still seventeen years old. “You are all adults now,” they exclaim. “I am not an adult,” I insolently replied (in my mind). I’ll have to discover a new rebuttal, as my childhood will be over in nine days from when I am writing this. I’m a seventeen-year-old, but I was a different seventeen-year-old when I arrived at Geneseo on August 22, 2023. I no longer sleep in an opulent queen-sized bed, now my feet dangle off my minuscule twin XL. I used to lavishly lounge in my bathtub with a cup of tea and a portable speaker sounding Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.2; I imagined I was an early 20th-century Russian tsar soothing away the arctic chill. Now, I wear flip-flops when I cleanse in a shower with only two settings: scalding hot and unsatisfactory lukewarm. They’ll even spontaneously switch between them just to shake things up a bit! That’s not going to hack it to soothe Geneseo’s arctic chill, and nobody is living like royalty up here.

Whether productive or not, the most prominent sensations have originated through the desire to be comfortable again. What even is “comfortable?” Is waiting until the last day to get that problem set done comfortable? Is avoiding FOMO by going out two nights in a row comfortable? Is skipping breakfast to secure an extra thirty minutes of beauty sleep comfortable? All these scenarios are comfortable… until they aren’t. One either is forced to cram their schoolwork in, sleep in, and skip lectures because they feel a little too good in their bed, or they finish it before their party and have a stress-free evening. More times than not, I’ve been person number one, but one thing about Scorpios is that no matter how tough the going gets, we’ll work tirelessly to handle our business in the least efficient ways manageable. I was never a straight-A student, but unless Brightspace is lying to me, I can call myself one for the first time. The college system is truly working better for me, for now. My teachers rambled on about how, eventually, my bad habits will “catch up to me.” Clearly, I just run fast, so I guess that doctrine never applied to me. At the end of the day, if you want to be a straight-A student, don’t do what I do.

My INTD105 section is going abnormally well. I say “abnormally” because I’ve never enjoyed English, but I have enjoyed theatre. It’s infinitely easier to connect to works discussing the effects of theatre on the individual for me, a stage performer with nine years of work in the field. I’ve enjoyed The Theatre of War by Bryan Doerries, which delineates his work with his theatre company, Theater of War, in presenting readings of classical Greek tragedy to a range of military organizations followed by town-hall style discussions which according to Doerries’ website, “confront social issues by drawing out raw and personal reactions to themes highlights in the plays… “ (“Theater of War – About”). The most important part of my creative process as a performer is always connecting the work to my life. As Richard Taruskin- an American musicologist and prominent music historian (yes, this is just an excuse to plug my Music History class), puts it in his essay, “The Authenticity Movement Can Become a Positivistic Purgatory, Literalistic and Dehumanizing,” regarding the authenticity of modern performances of historical musical works, authenticity is not saying what you mean but “knowing what you mean and acting in accordance with one’s knowledge…” (Taruskin). After reading Doerries’ work, Greek tragedy became so much more than an out-of-touch, mundane snoozefest. It now demands my attention to not just know what happened, but to discuss why it happened and what it means to me. The sophomoric question, “Why should I care?” is now asked sincerely.

For the end of the semester, I hope for things that everybody else hopes. I hope to learn to manage my work comfortably, so I don’t end up having a grade-sinking revelation this semester. I hope to learn to consistently perform the habits I’m struggling with whilst awarding myself grace for inevitable setbacks. Above all, I hope to continue to bond with the lovely folks I’ve met through classes and clubs- especially my a cappella group, “The Southside Boys.” I mean it when I say these guys are my family. If you are reading this and have thought about singing, audition for an a cappella group (maybe even SSB!). It has been the most worthwhile and meaningful experience during my time here. Whatever you like to do, I hope you are finding your corner of the sky. In the first half of the semester, I found the perfect plot of land. All that’s left to do is slowly start to build.

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