When The Going Gets Tough…

In vague terms, the reason I haven’t been posting this month is because extreme personal circumstances have kept me more than just a little under the weather. I’ve been struggling a lot with classes and extracurriculars because something else has been on my mind, and it’s finally coming to a resolution, but the past three weeks have been some of the toughest of my life.

That being said, I also spent the past three weeks feeling nothing but absolutely loved by the people who care about me. I’ve come to meet them in different ways, and some of them aren’t on good terms with one another, but they all separately have made it clear to me that they have the capability to love deeply and really show kindness to someone in need. I am all too lucky to have these people around me.

A year ago, I thought I was transferring schools. I felt that the social climate wasn’t right for me–I had made some friends, but overall I felt like I thought too differently from everyone else. I felt like I was too disconnected from those around me and I would never be able to call Allegheny my home. It is almost exactly a year from the day I decided to stay, and this place has become so much more than a home for me. It has become a safe haven. There are people here who kept me from being alone for two days straight in my darker points of this past month. There are people here who sat in my room and listened to me cry and helped me figure out how to pick up the pieces of the terrible situation in which I found myself. There are people here who bring me care packages with blankets and tea and coloring books to get my mind off of things. There are people here who love me more than they probably should and I will never not be thankful for those people.

College is about learning and pushing yourself to be better than you ever thought you could be. It’s about finding interests and exploring them and deciding to give yourself entirely over to them. But it’s also about finding new people who enter your life and your heart and change you for the better. I’m coming to see the importance of that more and more, and I would be remiss if I did not post something in admiration of each of those who showed me the pure love I’ve felt this past month.

Through the intense conversations I’ve had with these friends, I’ve found out so much I didn’t know about them. A friend of mine (a theatre major) told me she was going to go into engineering. Another friend told me that he had never wanted to come to this school–his parents pushed him to make the decision and he’s so grateful they did, even if his choice was kind of taken away. Even talking to professors I found encouragement and understanding that I didn’t feel I deserved. One of my professors reached out and expressed a situation in which she found herself during her freshman year of undergrad that had an effect on her like the one this situation is having on me. Whether or not she meant for it to happen, she made me feel so much less alone.

The people at this school really care, if you give them the chance to. I’m so grateful for them. I’m so happy I stayed.

Spring Break Adventures! (Part 3: On the road)

Even though we had two stretches of major driving (three if you count the drive from Allegheny to Rochester), I felt like the best way to write it all down would just be to keep it in a single post.

Like I said, the first stretch of road for our crew of vagabonds was actually from Meadville to Rochester, and there isn’t too much to say about that one. My friends Milton and Till fell asleep within maybe 20 minutes of the drive, which left my friend Bolan and I to sit up front and talk for the majority of the trip. We listened to music and talked about school and how we thought the trip was going to go, and the time passed quickly for most of the ride.

Our second stretch was from Rochester to Omaha, but it was broken up with a drive from Rochester to Erie to pick up our friend Rose. We left on Tuesday afternoon, music blasting and ready to get started. I had the drive until Toledo, so I drank two cups of coffee and a Starbucks doubleshot before heading out. More of the same, until Erie–singing, talking, sleeping for those in the backseat (rule no. 1 for the passenger seat: NO SLEEPING ALLOWED!). We got to Erie around 10pm, hung out at Rose’s house to drink more coffee and chill with her cats and her mom, and then got back on the road. Night driving is a little different when you know you’ve got a long way to go. My total drive was around 8 hours, but there were a couple of stops along the way for gas, so it wasn’t entirely Mad Max mode.

The drive from Erie to Toledo was dark, but also pretty beautiful. We went over a few bridges and drove by a lot of small cities and towns with gorgeous lights. I quite liked the drive, actually. Around the third fill-up for gas, I decided I’d had enough for the night and gave the wheel over to Till. He and Milton took the front seat, while Bolan and I swapped to the back (Rose couldn’t drive, so she spent most of her drive in the backseat until halfway home when we realized that she couldn’t sleep in cars which made her the perfect passenger seat candidate).

The driving schedule we had originally set up wasn’t really what happened. We had people who needed to sleep, people with aching legs, and people who weren’t the best at passenger seat driving, which meant quite a bit of rotation. One thing a person learns while driving through the midwest: IOWA IS THE BIGGEST STATE IN THE WORLD. Or at least it feels like it. We stopped four or five times and still weren’t out of Iowa, and at that point we were pretty sure it wasn’t actually a state but a giant black hole summoned to kill us all.

The sunset was gorgeous that morning.
The sunrise was gorgeous that morning.

We drove into Nebraska around 4am, and it was a foggy morning. Everything felt like a baby blue-grey. There was no corn, because it was March and cold outside, but there were plenty of fields where you knew it grew in the summer. People aren’t joking about the West–it’s flat. The highway into Omaha started to feel like it was in front of a Flintstones background, just repeating the same scenery over and over again, hoping we wouldn’t notice. It was pretty beautiful, in a way.

The way home was much of the same, only we started the drive in the rain. Something about being in a car in the rain is very comforting to me, especially at night. It wasn’t really night, but the sun wasn’t anywhere near up by then so I still count it as night. About three hours into the drive, the entire backseat had been asleep (myself included), and Till leaned over and whispered in my ear, “wouldn’t it be cool if we could like, get some breakfast?” The whole point of the driving system we had was to keep ourselves from stopping for more than about 15 minutes. But the second he mentioned breakfast my stomach started growling and I had no interest in feasting on the granola bars we had stored in the backseat. Half an hour later we pulled into the parking lot of a Perkins.

I think my favorite rest stop of the whole journey was in Iowa (because, where else?). It was writer’s themed, with names of relatively famous published Iowan authors. It was really cool, because I even found one name with the genre, “general nonfiction,” which is the closest I saw to my major (creative nonfiction). It was almost like nonfiction writers mattered for a second!

Look! A nonfictioneer!
Look! A nonfictioneer!

We drove by a lot that I wish we could have seen, but we were on a time crunch. Should I take this drive again with more time to lose, I’d definitely want to stop at the Creation Museum, the World’s Largest Truck Stop, and even the Museum of RV’s and Campers. Yes, those are all real things we saw on our way to and from Omaha.

I love taking long trips with friends. You cram yourselves in a metal box with wheels for hours on end and your only respite from one another is the hope that the driver will play some decent music. You really get to know one another, in a way that siblings find themselves forced to love one another. Each of these people were friends of mine before the journey, but we grew in closeness over this adventure and I’m not about to forget it. I’ve got a lot more meditation to do on this experience, that’s for sure. But I wanted to share as many of the best parts as I possibly could.

Spring Break Adventures! (Part 2: Nebraska!)

This has been a very long month and I can’t give my personal reasons as to why I haven’t been posting, but I’ve definitely missed the writing. I hope you’ll forgive me!

 

I didn’t want to post the Nebraska part of our trip until I got ahold of the video of my friends performing a song they wrote about the trip, but it’s on my friend’s phone, which went MIA about two days after my last post. There is still much to be told!

We ended up arriving in Omaha, NE about 7 hours earlier than our friend’s aunt was expecting us. A miscommunication, possibly due to the time changes and possibly due to the lack of sleep the drive had caused us (but more on that in the next post!). She opened the door to the five of us standing on the porch, she welcomed us in and quickly invited us to sit down and hang out with the dog and her grandson, Ollie. This woman was so kind to us. We showed up hours before we were supposed to and she fed us within 20 minutes of our arrival. We spent the rest of the day hanging around and getting to know the city a little better, our friend’s cousin taking us out on the town later that night.

That was an interesting adventure, given that it was a Wednesday night in downtown Omaha, a city with the most restaurants per capita, but one also with many bars which do not allow minors (who made up 4/6 of our crowd) to enter. It was colder than anticipated and the wind was out of control, so we quickly found a bar that would house the five of us while the Nebraskan among us got his car to take us back to the house. While we were in the bar, a waitress came over and asked if she could make us some mocktails, which we were not about to say no to. She was really creative about the whole thing–everything was delicious.

A photo of a sloth I snapped for my friend Conner at the zoo.

I’m kind of upset, because the trip was a month ago and I know I’m forgetting a lot. We took a trip to the Omaha zoo, which is apparently the 6th best-ranked zoo in the world. It was incredible. A lot of the park was under construction, but it featured an aquarium, a desert dome, a walk-in rainforest area. and an African safari sky-lift which was under construction at the time but looked super cool. We spent some more time with Ollie, and then headed back for a game of soccer and some Omaha steak and corn.

What I remember most about this leg of the trip was the music we played together and the kindness of our hosts. I spent one night sitting on the floor with my friend’s aunt, my friend Rose (the only other female on the trip), and a cat who was rumored to only ever take to women in a house which had once been filled with four men and one woman. The three of us talked about femininity and motherhood and women’s place in society, and things got more personal as we discussed more intimate things about ourselves… I found so much comfort in that moment. I’m incredibly grateful for the generosity that was shown to us.

Early Saturday morning, we packed up our things and headed back on the road–this time only 16 hours back to Meadville (rather than the 18 it took us to get from Rochester to Omaha). We drank some coffee, hugged our host and thanked her for everything their family offered us over the past week, and got back onto the highway in pouring rain, getting started before the sun.

 

…the saga will continue in my next post, part 3: On The Road!

Spring Break Adventures! (Part One: Allegheny to Rochester)

So, the entire week before spring break, each of my professors went around the room and asked each of us if we had any plans for the week. Some people were headed to Myrtle Beach, some were heading home, there was even someone in my Junior Seminar who was headed to Vegas for the week. When the discussion reached my end of the classroom, I cleared my throat and replied, “I’m driving to Nebraska with four of my friends.”

Every response was the same: someone (or a few someones) in the class would giggle, and the professor would ask, “Why would you do that? What’s in Nebraska? Isn’t that like an 18 hour drive?” 

Yes, it was an 18 hour drive. Yes, there are few things in Nebraska. But one of the things that is there is a city called Omaha. And in that city is the extended family of one of my friends, who graciously offered us their spare rooms and sleeping bags from Wednesday to Saturday night. I want to tell you all about our adventures in Omaha, but the saga of the week was so long that I feel like we need to start from our original departure from Allegheny. This is probably going to be a three-part series of blogs: from Allegheny to Rochester, the 18 hour drive there and the 16 hours back, and finally our time in Omaha with some of the kindest people I’ve ever met. I’ll try to write them all today and set the posts to come daily, that way there’s no overload of information.

 

To start: Allegheny to Rochester!

Before we could take off to the Cornhusker State (I’m not joking–this is the official nickname for Nebraska), we had to make a pitstop in Rochester, NY for one of our friends to go to a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday. Since we left Allegheny on a Friday afternoon, we drove three hours and spent the following four days hanging out with his family and exploring his version of the city.

IMG_4704We stopped in a few really cool places, the first being a music store called House of Guitars, which was flooded with records and CD’s and guitars and drum sets and basically anything you could possibly imagine in the realm of music-making. Almost every big-name (and small-name) artist had been through the shop, signed the wall, and played an in-house set. Walking inside, it seemed like a strange warehouse housing the contents of every garage band that ever existed.

We asked, and apparently before it was turned into this glorious warehouse, Guitar Center had been a community house where the city had held things like town hall meetings and square dancing events. It’s hard to think of a big city as ever existing as a town small enough to have one meeting hall, the worn decadent ceilings and strange interior layout were definitely part of the charm of the place.

Wandering around on Pinnacle Hill.

We walked through Highland Park,visited the public market, hung out on the shores of Lake Ontario, and walked around Mount Hope Cemetery. One of my favorite parts of our stay, though, was walking up Pinnacle Hill, a trail behind our friend’s neighborhood which led to graffiti covered radio towers. He explained to us that nearly every time he walked back there, the graffiti was different. I felt there was something really profound there, that even though you come home from time to time, things keep going while you’re gone. There are comforts that you know you can always find, but other parts of that world will keep changing.

Our last night in Rochester, we made dinner for his parents and watched the movie Nebraska in order to get ourselves in the mindset of the next day’s journey. The movie is actually about a senile old man who thinks he has won a million dollars. He lives in Montana and decides to walk all the way to Lincoln to try to collect it. It’s a movie with a sad sort of comedy within the story, and it had absolutely nothing to do with our planned adventures. Still, it’s a great movie and I definitely recommend it.

Tuesday morning, our friend went off to his doctor’s appointment, and when he got back we packed ourselves up and were on the highway by 5:30pm, on our way to… Erie.

Yes, there is another chapter to this saga before we hit Nebraska, but you’ll just have to wait for that story. Stay tuned!

 

*weather update*: It’s sunny today, but it’s been cold all week and it’s still kind of cold right now. I decided to celebrate the sun and the five degree increase with a skirt and I do not regret it at all. Come on, Spring! Show yourself already!

I’m not dead! And also: Gator Day!

Hey guys! I’ve returned from my blogger slumber!

Essentially what happened was that over spring break I spent a lot of time in a car (you’ll get a post about that soon… possibly today?), which means no wifi, which meanIMG_4692s no blogs.

Anything after that was just a work overload and a result of not being totally prepared to go back to classes. I’m kind of letting things slip at this point in the semester, which definitely isn’t good, because I’ve had exams out the wazoo for the past week. I’ve got another one next Monday, so we’ll se how that goes. In the meantime, I’m going to update you on today and write a few more posts throughout the next few days updating you on what’s been going on since the last time I posted!

Today is Gator Day, which is basically a programming day around campus where we don’t have classes but there are seminars and open houses for departments for students to attend. Some students also take this as a day to get caught up on work, which has been my main focus. There’s also a seminar later in the day on writing personal statements, and as someone who is about six months from beginning the process of applying to law schools (I don’t know how this happened so fast?), this is something pretty crucial for me.

So far today, I’ve drafted a midterm essay, grabbed some lunch with friends, and picked up some posters from the print shop (these posters are for a show, which I will make ANOTHER blog post about! Lots of posts to make, I realize!), and studied a little more for the LSAT’s. After I go to this seminar, I’ve got a little bit of time to get some more work done before I attend tech rehearsals for SET’s latest show, and I’m looking forward to every bit of it.

Gator Day is really cool because they hand the day over to you in order for you to decide what’s most important. I appreciate that. I also appreciate the morning offered to me which allowed me to catch up on the sleep I’ve been missing lately with all of this work piling up.

All in all, today’s been pretty rad. More updates on the past few weeks to come!

Satur-yay! (I’m so sorry)

Weather update: This entire week hasn’t been colder than about 35 degrees, and the past two days have been sunny and it feels like we’re finally coming out of this ridiculous winter tunnel that has consumed us for the past four months. I took a nap in the grass yesterday. It was glorious.

 

Last week, I wrote about Sundays. Today, I’m going to talk to you about Saturdays. On the way into brunch today, I turned to my friend and said, “I know Sunday is like a band-aid on the week, but I’m not sure what Saturday is. I know it’s something, though.”

"Friends being dudes" ~My friend Annie offering a caption for this photo.
“Friends being dudes” ~My friend Annie offering a caption for this photo.

I still haven’t really figured out exactly what Saturday is, but I know I’m glad for it. I’m probably intoxicated by this ridiculous sunshine right now, but I’m being as honest as I can under this inebriation. What I love about Saturday is the fact that I can always find my friends bunkering down in GFC doing work (or pretending to). It’s this air everyone gives off of knowing they need to be productive, but really just wanting to spend time with the people they care about. It’s the day you make plans to drive to Erie the next weekend. It’s the day you get coffee with someone you don’t have time to see during the week. It’s the day you call your mother and catch up on what’s going on back home. It’s the day you sit around playing chess all day while you avoid the paper you know you have to write by Monday at 5pm (definitely not talking about myself right now).

I love Saturday because it’s like the review session for the past week. We wake up together, make plans, and blow them off remembering that it’s more important to enjoy the day you have than to consume yourself with stress and miss out on the wonderful people around you.

I think I’ve got it: If Sunday is the band-aid on the week, Saturday is the day you skin your knee on the grass and laugh about how stupid the fall was in the first place.

Sunday, Sweet Sunday!

Weather update: The snow has melted entirely (again), it’s 40 degrees out, and the sun is shining so brightly it’s almost impossible to be in a bad mood.

I have a crush on Sundays. Everyone seems to be all about Friday and Saturday, which I get, because there’s a freedom to not having to worry about getting up with the sun the next day and feeling like you have endless time in front of you to clean, see friends, and catch up on all of your work. But in reality none of that happens and most of those two days are usually spent going to McKins too many times in one day and watching an absurd amount of The Office on Netflix. No? Just me? Okay.

The beautiful thing about Sundays for me is that I spend most of the day alone, which is intoxicating to the introvert in me. I get up around 9 or 10, open the blinds, and dive into all of the work I put off the two days before. I’ll break that up with a lunch with friends, and then it’s back to work until I go to rehearsal or whatever is going on that night.

Today specifically, I got to get a head start on an English essay that isn’t due for a week, went to the Whole Darn Thing for lunch with a friend (where the girl behind the counter told me she liked my style and made me grin for a good 20 minutes on that alone), and now I’ve got time to catch up on some PoliSci reading before heading to my first readthrough for the next show I’m in. Like I said in my weather update, the sun is shining like it just had three Diet Cokes, and I’m blasting Lake Street Drive (a band any blues fan needs to look up immediately) while I plow through my work.

Sundays make me feel like I’m a better person than I probably am in reality. I want to hug everyone and tell them that the future is bright and so are they and that we should get lunch sometime. Life is good right now, for sure.

I Did A Thing!!!

Weather update: Yesterday, all of the snow melted, but it was still cold so I don’t know how that happened. It snowed again last night but it’s supposed to get up to 35 degrees today so I’m not really sure what’s going on.

(I think I’m going to start every post off this way. Or maybe put it in the post at the end. Not sure yet.)

 

This post is probably going to be a short one, but I wanted to share this with my readers. I don’t usually talk about my accomplishments. I’m not the kind of person to post my GPA on Facebook after the semester has ended, I don’t tell everyone when I get accepted into an internship program, I only talk about shows I’m in when they’re going up because I want EVERYONE to go see them. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with doing any of those things, they’re just not me. I wanted to make this post, though, because it’s really important to me.

Introducing: The 2016-2017 SET Board!
Introducing: The 2016-2017 SET Board!

Last night, I was elected as Public Relations for the board of SET. In all honesty, I’m really proud of this. I’ve made a post or two before about how important SET is to me, and it’s one of the things that I’m most excited about on this campus. Recently I have been working very long hours to support the club in an endeavor that has been a big deal for everyone involved. I’m so excited to be able to contribute in a bigger way.

It’s really important to me that I do my best to bring people into this community I care so much about. SET has really changed my experience at Allegheny in a lot of ways, and I want to give that to other people. I’m also really excited to work with the rest of the board for next year. They’re all really cool cats and I think we’re gonna do some great stuff.

A Hello and Wondering Where the Time Goes

Weather update: All of the snow melted away completely and I wore shorts yesterday.

Update on that update: It’s snowing again.

…seriously, I feel like I could run this blog entirely based on the weather in this town (but I won’t do that I promise).

 

I don’t have too much to update you on that isn’t weather right now, to be honest. My days have been pretty identical for a while now. I’m in tech for the comedy show I’m in (see poster below), which means I’m in rehearsals until midnight and all I can think about is singing a doo-wop to Bernie Sanders and what celebrity would be the most ridiculous dinner guest. But other than that it’s been business as usual in the life of Megan Greig.

The show opens on Friday at 8pm!
The show opens on Friday at 8pm!

It’s about mid-term, which means (apart from exams) the thing taking up the most space in my brain right now is housing for next year. Last year, I didn’t have to worry about housing draw because I thought I was transferring (shoutout to res life for accommodating me when I called in the middle of June begging for a place to live after I realized I was coming back). This year is a bit more stressful, but my friends and I have been working out a plan for housing for a week or so now, so things should be settled. That’s the key to not running into a disaster when it comes to room draw–plans on plans on plans. Just because of the number of variables involved, it’s necessary to have a backup, a backup to your backup, and then a backup to your backup to your backup. I think we’re at a stable place, but we’ll see when it comes time for the actual draw night next week.

The other thing I’m thinking about right now is the fact that we are, in fact, at mid-term. There are two months left of classes, and I feel like we just started last week. I know that’s a cliche, but 1.) I’m the queen of cliche, and 2.) it’s the Most True it’s ever been for me. I’m a second semester junior, and it’s weird to think I’ve got about two and a half semesters left before I’m done here. I’ve got a bit to go before I can really feel like the end is near, but it’s so much nearer than it used to be.

I love this school more and more every day I’m here. I know as a blogger for the school it may seem like I have to say that, but trust me when I say that I wouldn’t if I didn’t mean it. It’s beautiful here, no matter what the weather. The people I’ve met here are beautiful. The things I am learning from my classes are beautiful. I know it sounds like I’m writing a goodbye letter to a campus that I’m not leaving for another year and then some, but I only mean to pay homage to a place that is making me more excited to participate in life.

A friend of mine thought he wasn’t going to be back next semester, due to extenuating circumstances. Yesterday he found out that he could stay, and I know it made a lot of people really happy to hear that. I was in his place this time a year ago. I don’t know where I would be if I had lost this place, these people, this experience.

I didn’t mean to get this sappy… some of this might be sleep deprivation and some of it might be the really awesome conversation I just had with a friend of mine 20 minutes ago. Whatever it is, I am actually really happy to be a student at Allegheny.

(Also if you’re in the Meadville area come to my sketch show because it’s going to be great. All of my friends are really funny and it’s only like an hour of your life!)

Weather in the Mead

There has to have been many a blog post written about this, but I’ve got to do my own version of it.

Meadville is hecking weird when it comes to weather. I can’t remember the number of times I was warned about Northwestern PA before I went to school up here, but I really think it takes a few months of living here before understanding. As much as you think the weather in your home town is unpredictable and ridiculous, it’s nothing like it is in Meadville. This past week has been the perfect example of the town’s climatic tempermentality.

[Before I go further it is important to note that this has been a very mild winter. This time last year the ground was still covered in multiple feet of snow and I don’t think I saw grass until after spring break. But this post isn’t about last year, it’s about last week.]

Monday and Tuesday were relatively late-February-esqe. It was cold and grey and enough for me to need my jeans and leather jacket, but not my boots or my super heavy coat. Wednesday, the rain that had been threatening to fall from Monday and Tuesday’s grey clouds came pouring down on campus. It was cold and windy and wet and miserable, but I only had two classes that day which meant I could sit inside GFC and watch the rain from the big windows, which made it actually pretty cool.

After dinner on Wednesday night, my friends and I walked out onto Brooks Walk and saw the most stupidly beautiful rainbow in the sky. After such a grey week, I was so happy to see that stripe of color against the suckling blue post-rain sky. Honestly one of the very best things about this campus is that it’s on a hill. Okay, that’s actually one of its worst qualities when you’re walking from the library to your English class and it’s snowing and you don’t have your boots on because you stayed over at a friend’s house the night before. But when you’re walking out of Brooks after a long few days and you see this gorgeous rainbow form a complete arch over 540 acres you call home, it’s definitely one of the best.

This campus is breathtaking.

Thursday and Friday were consistent downfalls of snow. What? I know, you thought I was going to stop with the pretty rainbow photo. No, this blog is all about being real. And to be real with you, when I went to class on Thursday morning I was dumb enough to think I didn’t need my boots and ended up slipping on ice and/or packed snow a grand total of three times before getting back to my house at lunchtime. And just when I had mentally made the decision to wear my snow boots unconditionally until spring break, Saturday rolled around, the lows were in the mid-30’s, and the sky was blue again.

I think I like the unpredictable weather here. It’s a good way to keep track of the days when everything starts to blur from the sheer volume of action on this campus. Wednesday is clearly marked in my mind as Pretty Rainbow Day. That’s a good mid-week marker and it’s also a ridiculously beautiful photo-op.

To wrap the week up, today was absolutely gorgeous. I wore shorts.