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PUT AWAY YOUR TOYS: Sunday brought perfect weather for hot-air ballooning over the Old Mendon Highway -- but when it's over, you still have to pack up. / Photo by Nancy Williams

Today's word on journalism

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"Paranoia means having all the facts."

--William S. Burroughs, Beat Generation writer (1914-1997)

Just drag me kicking and screaming into seniorhood (as long as I've got my suede boots)

By Alexis Lear

September 26, 2006 | I actually prefer the term "fourth year student." Senior just sounds old, so final, so wise, so unfun and business suitish; what if I'm not any of these yet? What if I'm never any of these? I don't even think a business suit would fit me if I tried. I think my body would literally reject the idea of pantyhose every morning, shoulder pads crowding my shoulders all day, and that salmon orange lipstick you find in the sale bin at Wal-Mart.

The idea of growing up and choosing a career hardly registers in my head; it's already too full with thoughts of those new calf-length, coffee-colored, suede wedge boots I've been watching religiously at Nordstrom's all month, if that kiss really meant something or if I totally got played, or how I'm going to survive this week on four hours of sleep from the weekend.

I've already heard it all from my dad. I'm the youngest of two older, more-like-my-parents, and way too protective older brothers. As they are both in law school at their prospective universities my dad's motto for me is "Alexis, do whatever you want with your life... after graduate school." I think it was when our Sunday dinner conversations become political debates, rebuttals, and an open forum for everyone to summarize their favorite Phillip Kay novel, that I realized I was different than the rest of my family.

I haven't faced the fact that I am a year and a half away from college graduation, caps and gowns, the whole nine yards; and am unsure about my future. My way of solving problems is to simply avoid the problem until absolutely necessary. I am that girl whose 1998 forest green Jeep Wrangler putters in to the gas station on its last ounce of gasoline because I didn't want to fill it up earlier. I am the girl who waits until the man behind the cashier at Wendy's wants to hit her because she hasn't decided whether she wants the large or extra large Diet Coke. It is the small decisions and things in life that I spend so much time agonizing over which make no difference to my future at all. It's the tests I fail because I wanted to go camping the night before, rather than study, and the classes I skip so I can finally go to breakfast with that cute, mysterious boy in my apartment complex, decisions I should have thought a little bit longer about.

Avoiding my problems has gotten me nowhere but to Wendy's for the extra large Diet Coke. What will be that trigger that will help me grow up and move on? Will it just click? Will it come as I throw my graduation cap in the air? Or will I have it my way and find it in a Cracker Jack box? To my dismay, I think it will be a gradual process that will most likely hit me when I have graduated, don't have my parents' car to fill up with gas, and don't have money to buy Diet Coke at Wendy's.

Where do I begin to prepare? Every girl has to grow up sometime. I can only be in college so long before I become that weird 50-year-old lady on campus wearing her wedge boots from fall 2006 and flirting with all of the 20-something guys.


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