Notes From Abroad: Poundtown

PoundlandIt was my first day at the University of Exeter. I had spent two days traveling, and the amount of dry body sweat layered on new sweat on another layer of dry sweat was approaching a dangerous level. As we left the bus in a Kenyon cluster like a strange Midwestern cult, we watched as Sarah Heidt and Sergei waved enthusiastically from the sidewalk with their matching windbreakers and brown sensible shoes.

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Fernando Elana Granada: My Romantic Albeit Problematic Fling While Abroad, and How I Got Out of It Okay

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A brief history of the first time Fernando and I met. Photo Credit: Emily Sakamoto ’16

This is the story of how my life came the closest it’s ever been to Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, complete with a spunky but naive American, a suffering artist-stereotype of a human, and how a textbook romance turned into emotional manipulation.

My friends have heard this story once already. My good friends have heard it at least three times. My friends from abroad witnessed it. But I probably haven’t told you yet. It’s a good one.

Let me tell you about this guy. You won’t believe he exists. Hell, I was certain he was a figment of my imagination for the entirety of our fling. But this is 100% true.

***This article discusses emotional manipulation, emotional abuse, and toxic relationships.***

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If I Went Off-Campus, So Can You

The Newberry Library, one of the most amazing places on the planet. (via Wikipedia Commons)

I cry easily. In fact, I have crying in public down to a science. On this map, I have more instances of public weeping than anyone else on the Thrill’s staff. This is not something I take lightly. I have anxiety. Consistently nervous about absolutely everything, I have difficulties talking to people, speaking up in classes, and a whole lot of other stuff that I won’t bother you with. Some days even walking across campus is hell for me because of my constant negative thoughts. When it comes to People Who Probably Shouldn’t Leave Campus For A Semester, I thought I’d be on the top of the list. But when I was presented with an opportunity that I was too excited to say no to, I left.

The Associated Colleges of the Midwest’s Newberry Seminar is a semester-long program in Chicago where participants have the opportunity to do primary source research in the coolest library in the world. While there, I worked closely with dedicated professors and students and was intensely engaged in my academic work. It was academically rigorous, but I don’t think I’ve had more fun in my life. My program is not for everybody, but it was perfect for me. Continue reading