Ventfest: My last Northeastern shuffle

photo1Shortly after attending AB’s graduation last May, when he graduated magna cum laude—you go, babe—I was informed that my graduation year would have different cum laude requirements. Namely, the cum laude minimum would jump from 3.25 to 3.5. No public press release, no explanation, nada.

When I reached out to my J-school dean, to my academic advisor, to my career advisor… they all gave me the “Northeastern shuffle,” kindly shuffling me and my questions/requests along to the next open door (Side note: after starting a new magazine on campus, and successfully weaseling my way out of a study abroad program—complete with lawyer intervention—you’d think I’d have mastered the Northeastern shuffle…but alas).

I had little over a semester to get my GPA to jump to 3.5. Which, I later calculated, would have been impossible in the time allotted. I kept thinking “They can’t do that,” to which AB coolly responded, “They’re a private institution. They can do whatever they want.” To say I was pissed is to completely undermine the intensity of the powerless, David-vs.-Goliath, I-want-to-freaking-smack-my-school-upside-the-head hatred that I was not-so-successfully trying to quiet.

For starters, I would be graduating only 7 months after AB’s class, arguably competing with them for jobs, and someone with the same GPA as I would be able to list cum laude on the resume. Secondly, it’s about the damn principle of the thing; don’t go changing shit behind my back, not telling me in any sort of respectable manner, not providing any sort of explanation for why this move might be a strategic decision for the university (or whatever), and not granting me the respect of listening to my frustrations. And thirdly, I graduated with a 3.48 GPA which is, like, thisfreakingclose, right?

Once I realized my efforts and As were for not (sort of), I pulled a DGAF moment, finished a glass of champagne with my parents via Skype, and washed my hands of the Northeastern shuffle forever. Then, last week, my mom sent me an email with pictures of my degree. And then texted me to check my email. And then called me. Twice.

Apparently, the blurry picture of a form letter which she sent outlined how I Northeastern had decided to grandfather my class in. When I looked closer, I realized the degree with my name on it had a very subtle cum laude underneath. Bow. Chica. WowWow. Never mind that I was thisclose to magna cum laude (under the old qualifications) Whatever, I’ll take what I can get. I’m finished. And proud! Cheers, friends.

Relay for Life

Help me to check off one of my 2011 Bucket List items and raise $500 for a charity. I am working together with my Kappa team to help raise money to fight cancer through Northeastern’s 2nd Annual Relay For Life. One of my sisters, Christina Pagano, is really active in the organization of the event and I’m more than happy to support her. The relay is a 12-hour event from March 26-27 (which means there’s plenty of time to budget and it’s just in time for tax season!). My sisters and I will be walking/jogging/dancing along the track for the entire 12 hours. We are “Kappa for a Kure.” 🙂

Please visit my page and donate to my team! Every little bit helps!!

In case you didn’t get one… Happy Holidays!

The insert from my Christmas cards this year… a pretty comprehensive update on the goings on of my life 🙂

My family tends to send out the obligatory “Daniells Family Update Letter” in July, but there’s been so much going on lately that I thought I’d send out my own little update. I haven’t formally briefed many of you on my goings on since my high school graduation. In short, my time at Northeastern thus far has been amazing. After a slow first semester, I joined a sorority—Kappa Kappa Gamma—and started writing for the school paper. I made Dean’s List both semesters my freshman year and spent May of this year in Europe with my mom. We crammed four countries into three weeks and managed to survive vespa crashes and washed out trains. Mom loved Belgium and The Netherlands, and I fell in love with Paris, changed my language to French and scheduled time in my school trajectory to study there (Fall 2011?). I spent the rest of the summer reading, blogging and researching law schools (I decided to drop my second major and add a pre-law minor).

Since March, I have served as the corresponding secretary for Kappa and this past semester, I was elected the arts editor for my paper. Between those responsibilities and a full class load, I learned to survive on an average four hours of sleep and a diet of Raman and PB&J sandwiches. Despite the difficulties, this past semester has by far been the best four months yet; I became much closer with my sorority sisters and friends and managed to make a family and a home for myself on the east coast.

On January 3, I move to New York. I start my first co-op (a school-encouraged six month stint when I stop taking classes and work full-time) a week later, working as a features intern for Marie Claire magazine. It was a difficult decision to make (I had to turn down The Boston Globe and Vogue, and leave my beloved Boston), but it’s been a dream of mine to work at Marie Claire since I started shaving my legs and I figured I would give the city a shot. I will be living in Midtown Manhattan in an all-women’s building (my mother’s dream) with lounges, a library, a roof deck and a maid service (my dream).

As far as everything else goes, family life is great; I talk to my parents almost every day and am enjoying my first couple days back in San Diego. I signed on for an apartment in Boston in September with three of my friends and am excited to move in there. On a spontaneous whim, I recently died my hair red, and am now trying to rework my wardrobe since everything clashes with my hair. I just wanted to thank everyone again for helping me get to where I am. I’d love to hear from many of you and wish everyone the best this holiday season. Merry ChrismaHanukKwanzicaFestivus and a bubbly, wonderful New Year.

Thought to Ponder: College

I just returned from a night out with 3 incredible women watching Avenue Q. Muppet sex, masturbation, porn, racism, homosexuality… all crammed into a neat and tidy little musical!

It kinda of got me thinking a little deeper about school, though. Odd, I know. But there’s a particular song in the second act about wishing to be able to go back to college. It seems like a lot of “grown ups” think that way and, while it used to frustrate  me because I didn’t understand looking backwards, it also make me realize just how freaking awesome it is.

I love my home town… beach, sunshine (sometimes), salt air, In n Out and Mexican food. But being home for the summer is kind of empty compared to being at school and in Boston.

At home, I don’t have a room to myself. I don’t even have a suitcase to live out of and I share a bathroom with two boys who feel entitled to treat me like crap because I’m obligated to love them. I have chores and am often stripped of much of my independence… I don’t think my parents do that intentionally, but it kinda happens when I’m a child rather than a tenant.

At home, when I want to hang out with a friend, I face complications. First off, they have to actually be 1) in town, 2) not working or in their summer classes, 3) have money to burn and 4) be willing to pick me up since I seldom can use one of my parents’ cars. The chance of any one of those occurring (let alone all four) is quite a rarity.

At school, I have at least half a room all to myself. I have my bedding, my wardrobe, my pictures on the wall. I share a bathroom, yes, but with girls. Girls who I can live with because we’re careful not to tread on each others’ toes. I have chores, but they involve cleaning up my own crap, not everyone else’.

In Boston, my friends all live within walking distance. I don’t have to burden them with picking me up or (God forbid) hanging out at my house. I can see them at all hours of the day in a variety of venues. And it’s wonderful.

At school, everything that matters to me is in a four square block section of Back Bay. Overpriced produce at Wally’s, the booths in Curry student center with the electrical plugs so I can write, the food in the basement of Curry, the bookstore, friends’ apartments and dorms, rich friends’ stocked refrigerators, Starbucks green-tea-lemonade-sweeteneds, my secret corner of the stacks, AfterHours’ weird poetry slams, Huntington News headquarters, Stetson cookies… everything I could possibly need is right there.

College really is the best years of our lives (at least so far). Luckily, Northeastern’s 5-year program grants us the opportunity to dip our toes into the “real world” (via Co-op), while also postponing the days when we are void of meal plans and parental bailouts. That extra year gives us 12 more months of searching for our “purpose” and helps to ensure that we end up somewhere closer to Avenue E or F than all the way down at Q.