Bachelor of Memories: My Degree in Photographs (Part Two)

If you're the sort of person who feverishly checks my blog each week, hoping desperately for a new update, you probably saw last week's post filled with a selection of my academic baby pictures. To stall for time until I have to come up with a fresh idea for post material, please enjoy Part Two of that collection, which brings me from the whimpering neophyte of Fall 2013 to the deluded, semi-functional adult I am today.

Fourth Year

After my whirlwind year as a resident of a cinderblock human zoo in Eastern Canada, I was accepted to the Honours Psychology program at the University of Alberta, and I decided to come back home. Despite having gone to school at the U of A with a dozen of my closest friends just two years before, I knew no one when I returned, and so I promptly went out and joined every club I had a remote interest in. By which I mean I joined two clubs. And hey, it worked out pretty well.

This was the year that we decided one dog was simply not enough, and promptly adopted this 11 lb, 8-week old puppy. Today, this same puppy weighs 110 lbs and can comfortably rest her head on the kitchen table.

The Peer Support Centre crew! Despite looking like actual demons, we spent a lot of time helping people. 

 More of the PSC gang. My refusal to be in focus in any of these pictures is probably a sign of latent supernatural powers. Or coffee jitters. One of the two.

 At the end of the year, I travelled back to Halifax to be thoroughly destroyed at the National Canadian Parliamentary Debate Tournament. At least I got to see the old Mount Allison debate team again.

Whether we're partying at a bar, a restaurant, or a hipster's living room, the PSC kids excel at looking like ungodly creatures from the nether realms. 

At the end-of-the-year debate party. My incident with the swan - alluded to in last week's post - will live in infamy.

 My celebratory post-exams lunch at the Sugarbowl. There are few things I will miss about Edmonton, and the Sugarbowl is one of them.

 Giant Nemo stares directly into your soul.

Calgary Comic Expo, the year that I decided to dress up as an Ewok.

Getting scanned by a 3D scanner. Personally, I think I would make an excellent action figure.

 This is the exact moment I realized that, although Boston Terriers might possibly be the ugliest dogs ever bred into existence, I definitely need one.

 Our hobbies include making grotesque facial expressions in public.

 I spent the summer leading tours of this grain elevator. And angering the Thunder Gods, apparently.

 When not shouting at children to stop touching rusty nails, my job mostly involved pushing and lifting things that people stopped pushing and lifting by hand thirty years ago.

I also spent much of the summer drawing grain elevators with old-fashioned dip pens, for reasons that are not entirely clear to me all this time later.

 Touring a real grain elevator in Morinville. Frankly, I thought ours was more interesting.

This was the year I learned how to crochet ugly mittens for anyone who got too close to me. 

My summer job also made me an expert in making homemade paper and freehand painting old-style letters, two skills that will doubtlessly prove invaluable in my future career. 

 Emily at Taste of Edmonton, about to experience the full rush of roadside eclaire bliss.

This is both the ugliest and most comfortable scarf I have ever made for anyone, and Emily must cherish it forever.

Fifth Year

Fifth year wasn't supposed to be any fun. I had to keep my grades up to make sure I'd graduate with first-class honours. I had to fill out all the paperwork and meet all the deadlines to make sure I'd graduate at all. I had to spend dozens of hours, hundreds of dollars and the last of my mortal sanity on finishing my graduate school applications. The whole year was supposed to be one long slog to the finish line, and if I managed to crawl out from under my pile of obligations to attend the occasional debate meeting, I should consider myself lucky.

Then I decided I wasn't going to stand for that, and I had the best year of my life.

If you attended the 2014 University of Alberta Orientation for transfer students, you had to watch me stand at the front of the room and make a series of enthusiastically corny jokes about administrative procedures. Go Golden Bears.

This was the year I blew off school for a week to go to a writing workshop at the Banff Centre. Worth it.

I'm a real artist now, because this card says so.

My 22nd birthday (and Alison Pick's) with Canada's most fabulous writers! We spent the night shooting tequila out of an old salt lick, and it was the single most Albertan thing I've ever done.

My September 2014 was better than your September 2014.

 After four years of attending this school, I finally got a picture of our dong-shaped building.

Due to a series of events that were honestly entirely my fault, my dad and I made a crazy road trip to Helena, Montana so I could write a GRE exam that ended up making no difference in my final grad school admission.

 Still in Montana. I just really, really love grain elevators.

The lovely Cayda, using my head to give braiding lessons to the almost total stranger who later became one of my favourite people of all time.

The fabulous Steve and Alaura, taking a picture that still looks correct if you rotate it by ninety degrees.

University of Alberta Debate Society in Saskatoon. We didn't make it to finals, but we were the best-looking team there.

I consider it my solemn duty to make this grotesque face at all formal occasions. 

Despite being roughly shaped like a butternut squash, I spend a lot of time at the gym. If you also went to the gym this year, you probably saw me in there, making this face.

Shelly, right before abandoning us to move to Israel.

Some people wear suits to the opera. Ben apparently fist-fights his closet and wears whatever comes out.

That puppy we got in my fourth year did not stay small.

Spending Valentine's day at a debate tournament with the Debabes.

Academically, this was the year I ran out of fucks to give.

This was an actual answer that I wrote down on an actual statistics assignment worth actual marks. And not a single fuck was given.

One time, I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to go hang out with a bunch of writers in a bar, and I ended up winning a jaunty leprechaun hat.

The secret to the perfect Menchie's frozen yogurt is to just fill the whole cup with gummy candies like a four-year-old.

My 'fucks to give' reach a critical new low. This sentence really did make it into my final paper, and I still got into Columbia University.

This is the time I hid a portrait of Solid Snake in an academic poster that I presented at a real, actual conference, because standing next to a poster in a crowded hallway all day makes me want to shoot things. For the record, no one noticed him.

Cayda and Jessica stole my phone several months ago to take a series of selfies. Consider this my revenge, ladies.

The Hurd Lab crew at the Brian Harder Honours Day conference. Note that I am not wearing any shoes, for a variety of complicated reasons.

Last day with the Honours Psychology crew. We never did a single productive thing when we were together, but damn, I'm going to miss you guys.

Holy shit, they actually let me graduate.

So that's it. Undergrad is over. I got my first-class honours degree, got into graduate school, and got a shiny new diploma I can use to dab at my tears when my first student loan payment comes due. I befriended a wide variety of dangerous lunatics, all of whom will be required to visit me in my NYC shoebox, and turned a five year stint in an educational institution into one grand adventure.

Thanks for everything, undergrad. Next stop, grad school.


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