The first time I stepped on campus as a student, I was already one step behind. I was a transfer going into sophomore year, repeating the same things over again: Hometown: New York. Major: Communication. Fun fact: Something about still not having a driver’s license. Unlike many who transfer here, I was fortunate enough to know people from high school who could help me along. I learned facts that only applied to Boston College life. Main Gate was not the gate I went through to get to my dorm on move-in day—it was the one by Gasson Hall, the building that everyone finds important. The Gate, rather, was a dorm on Lower Campus that was named Stayer in 2012, an official name that still hadn’t caught on with everyone. White Mountain was the ice cream place over in the general direction of St. Ignatius, I would tell my mom while I was on the phone, waving in the air at an imaginary map.
Besides compiling the mental coordinates for every building on campus, there were also social things with which to keep up. I signed up for everything at the Student Involvement Fair, chaining myself to listservs that would never remove my name. I began to feel out what the “signature events” at BC were. At my old school, there were certain things everyone attended—a cute all-male a cappella group’s concerts, a makeshift regatta on the campus lake, and the football games. Here, football was optional, Showdown was big, and the Marathon was king. I did the football thing, struggling through the 3-0 loss to Wake Forest and feeling a reprieve from the huge wave of people at the Red Bandanna Game. But besides that, I had pretty much done nothing else. All of the other sophomores had done everything else before, and they were just over it. So this year, I decided to do them myself.
I showed up to Newton Campus three weeks before classes started to train to be an RA. I lasted an entire two weeks on the job—long enough to see my sister (Katie Kelly, CSOM ’20, for reference) walk down Linden Lane for Convocation, but not much else. My last day was Sept. 10. I haven’t been back to Newton since. In October, I ran the Red Bandanna 5k with her, waking up too early on a Saturday morning to huff and puff around Cleveland Circle, finishing an impressive almost-dead last. I had prepared by running the Reservoir approximately three times and eating as much Panera mac and cheese as possible. The last part wasn’t part of my training, but it’s probably important to know.
I went to Showdown and cheered the whole time, all the way up at the top of Conte Forum. Despite my little knowledge of dance technique outside of musical theatre, I had plenty of opinions once the night was over—Masti held my heart, no matter what anyone said. A couple of weeks later, I went to Full Swing’s performance in the Murray Function Room and watched them precariously flip people around, with the help of BC Irish Dance and Synergy.
For one of my classes, I’ve had to attend Bonn Studio and Main Stage productions. I saw Kingdom City, which was written by Sheri Wilner, the Rev. J Donald Monan, S.J. Professor in Theatre Arts. I tend to stick with more vibrant, song-and-dancey musicals against serious plays, but it was thought-provoking in a way that made me feel like a sophisticated adult. This past Friday, I watched the theatre department put on Evita, which includes “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina,” probably one of the most iconic songs in musical theatre history. It was, coming from someone who misses the hell out of half-assed high school productions of “classic” musicals that have to be changed because of you know, modernity and common decency, amazing. And I think Andrew Lloyd Webber is a crazy person.
I didn’t succeed completely, however. I barely used my Gold Pass this year—mostly because I covered the sports I like going to for The Heights. Any of the points I may have accumulated from attending sports events went unused, since I didn’t go to the men’s Beanpot this year. I still haven’t even been present on campus on a Marathon Monday, the biggest of BC traditions.
But then again, maybe it isn’t just about traditions. Maybe you’re just supposed to find things you love, and go to them, and not really care if you’re missing something supposedly life-changing. For example, I will not be going to Modstock—not because Louis the Child is made up of two men who are younger than me and already more successful than me and oh god what will I do—but because I have no interest in their music at all. I will be going to see The Book of Carney, though, because that nonsense seems so right up my alley. And most of my time is taken up by thoughts of receiving my very first, and likely only, mug for intramural softball, since dodgeball didn’t pan out as expected. It’s exactly the type of thing I never would have known would happen when I came to BC. But now that I’m here, I’m thrilled that it is.
Featured Image by Zoe Fanning / Heights Editor