Pretty soon we will be ushering in the New Year. Cue the annual traditions of Top Ten Lists, New Year’s Resolution creating, and get ready for a year of highly irritating “The World is Ending” humor. Before 2012 comes along, I wanted to remember 2011. It was a year where pre-election year politics competed in news with coverage of celebrity divorce and economic bailouts. A new country (South Sudan) was born (in July) and there was death of three world leaders/figures. We saw the commencement of the Occupy movement (giving Gen Yers the opportunity for their own rebellion against The Man like other generations before them). We survived another year of tumult and change.
Here are the critical moments I survived:
1. Snow-pocalypse 2011:I cheated at this one, being in Pennsylvania allowed me to miss out on the worst part of the January 25–27, 2011 North American
blizzard, which plastered the Northeast with snow. Many Pennsylvanians panicked while I scoffed at the mere foot of snow we received. I got snowed in with a friend who is originally from Pittsburgh and we made snow ice cream!
2. Being “Hospital” sick:A hospital emergency room trip turned into a week I don’t have memory of because I literally slept for 6 out of 7 days when you add in all of my sleep hours vs. awake hours. After roughly $350 dollars in medical bills, three types of medication, 26 days of illness, and 9 pounds lost, I survived. (Thank God my student insurance covered about 95% of the costs or I’d still be paying off the bills.)
3. My Thesis: Fashion and Identity: Exploring How the Visual Language of Fashion and Magazines Represents the Identity of Generation Y; This title represents four full months of 2011 distilled into an article length analysis.
4. Graduate School:After 4 semesters of typing papers, conducting research,
planning conferences, attending conferences, internships, and the like, I graduated (and thus, survived) graduate school and obtained my M.A. in American Studies. The Fiancée and I survived having both sets of parents in the same space for one whirlwind weekend.
5. The End of the World: Remember that time in May when Harold Camping and friends said the world was going to end? Most of us really didn’t think the world was going to end and planned “End of the world as we know it” themed parties complete with the R.E.M song playing on loop and an excuse to binge drink margaritas after Cinco de Mayo. (I ended up sleeping through what would have been the end of the world after being sick, writing a thesis, and graduating.) While we survived this time, remember, 2011 is over and here comes 2012!
6. My Trip Back to New England: I made the best/worst/most regrettable/most financially necessary decision I have ever made and moved back into my parents’ home. Moving proved to be an adventure in itself as I faced tornado-spawning thunderstorm that rained hail down on the moving truck as I drove up I-81 in Pennsylvania on Thursday, May, 26, 2011 while making my way to Connecticut. After, that it was all about surviving the weather. Mother Nature must have disapproved of my move, because then I survived…
7. The Great East Coast Earthquake of 2011: On Tuesday, August 23, 2011, an earthquake hit the East Coast sending people scurrying for cover as pencils rattled and pens fell to office floors up and down the coast. The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake hit near the town of Mineral, Va. with a 5.8 magnitude. People reported feeling the ground move as far north as Portland, Maine, and as far south as Anderson, South Carolina. Meanwhile, I was yelling at a printer that refused to comply.
8. Hurricane Irene: 2 million people were left without power (thankfully, I was not.) Schools were shut down, highways flooded out, and if I hadn’t moved away from Pennsylvania I would have been without power for days. It was one of the few times, this year I was glad for my move to CT.
9. Snowtober 2011:October snowfall records were smashed in Hartford, Connecticut, which received 12.3 inches after winter storm Alfred struck the
Northeast on October 29, 2011. Schools were closed for a week, including the college where I was teaching and it took up to 9 days for some people to get their power back. I had power the entire time and basically enjoyed a long, long vacation.
10. My First Semester as a University Lecturer: This Fall was my first semester as a University Lecturer teaching a 200-level International Studies Course on Puerto Rico. I ended up spending about six hours per week for every three hours I spent in class. (No, you don’t get paid for class prep or actually knowing what you are teaching about.) My Christmas gift to myself was completing my grading on Christmas Eve.