What’s a W7?

This one time, I had a few near-sleepless nights in college. I had anxiety over whether or not it was a good idea to drop out of a class more than half-way through the quarter.


I heard back from a job today.

And, by “heard back,” I mean they “like what they see on my resume” but want to “make sure we are a fit” so they are asking me to fill out a questionnaire.

I open the word doc that I am supposed to fill out and roll my eyes at a few of the questions. They want to know not only my high school GPA and college GPA — I include the latter on my resume — but all the math and verbal breakdowns of my SAT scores. Seriously?? Are my SAT scores that a version of myself seven years ago received going to influence whether or not you even give me a phone interview? Why should it matter?? What if I was an over-achieving prep kid who had no social life and had a 4.0 GPA but grew up to be a drug dealer?

I went back and logged into my college account to look at my unofficial transcript, which not only includes all the courses I took while I was enrolled at the university, but my SAT and ACT scores. They weren’t that great so I didn’t have them memorized.

Scrolling through the transcript, I started to count how many 4.0s I had accrued during my four years of higher education as well as the number of times I made the Dean’s List (not enough because I am hard on myself). Then in the section for “Spring 2006” I spotted the W7 next to “prehistoric life.” I dropped out of a credit/no-credit class on fossils during week seven (out of 10) during the spring quarter of my freshman year. I remember stressing nearly a week whether or not it was a good idea to do that. W7 stands for ‘withdrawal’ and the quarter you withdrew from the course.

This course was supposed to be “easy” but the only coursework that weighed into your grade was the midterm and the final tests. I took the midterm right after Natalie’s death and though I didn’t want to blame that for the reason I did poorly, if I didn’t study because of all of that, maybe it was? I went to talk to an academic counselor to see if it was acceptable to drop the class. I was freaking out. I was pretty stressed out. She told me I could file for a “family emergency type thing” to get the W7 waived from my official record because of my friend’s death. I didn’t want to do that.

The W7 would stay with me forever.

After all, I was in control of how I did on the midterm, not Natalie.

I smiled when I saw that W7 today. It’s still with me and it has no effect. Something that I thought was a huge deal six years ago means nothing now.

Though, if I make it past this questionnaire, the company better not ask me if I ever dropped out of any courses during my time in college.

If they do, I’ll just say “W7.”


A Happy HOFsgiving

Everyone who walked through the blue-ish colored door knew they were walking into the house called the Hall of Fame, or casually known as The HOF.

Occupied by nine ultimate frisbee college players — at times 10 or 11 — it was probably the most uncleanly place I have ever lived. But I loved it. Because I loved the roommates.

Sure, there was the time someone left the water running in the sink on the main floor bathroom, thus causing the basement to rain/flood. There was the time the upstairs sink fell (?) on Danny’s hand and there was lots of blood. There was the kitchen that never stayed clean — even after Heather did a rampage cleaning, it would somehow get dirty the next day. There was the noise violation after the one party.

And there was HOFsgiving.

Even though our house was the tiniest of houses, we somehow crammed ourselves into the living room with tables and chairs and invited our closest friends to celebrate in a pre-Thanksgiving feast. Naturally since this was the HOF, it was HOFsgiving.

HOFsgiving 2008

And even though it has been two years since we all lived in that house together, HOFsgiving still exists. Last year, I missed out because I was working on the Peninsula and wasn’t able to return on a weekday for the event. This time around, because I luckily took today off, I was able to make HOFsgiving — even if I did show up at 10:30 p.m. after a school board meeting.

I knew living in that house that it was the people that I enjoyed the most about it. And as soon as I set foot into Sean’s apartment, I was reminded of that feeling. Because there are so many of us, and most are graduated and have real jobs or are in grad school out-of-state or are living out of the country, we are never all in the same place at the same time. Last night was the closest it has been.

After living in a house with seven other roommates my sophomore year, I vowed that I would not live with more that three other roommates the rest of my college career. The HOF was an exception, I suppose. And I’m glad I made that exception. These are probably the most fun people. ever.

HOFsgiving 2011

Happy HOFsgiving. Thanks for still organizing and hosting, Seany.

Uncomfortable and out of place — in a library

Who would have thought all the Starbucks (three or four??) would be full on a Sunday evening. And by full, I mean no available table and chair combination near an outlet. I lug a desktop around with me everywhere (i.e. a laptop that has an old battery with no life at all and I am too cheap to spend a hundred dollars for a new one) but that is a story for another time.

I didn’t want to abandon my get-work-done-outside-of-the-household-in-order-to-actually-get-work-done-outing. But I didn’t know where else nearby to go to. Also, I didn’t want to go to other coffee shops and come across the same problem (limited/no seating and wall outlet). At 7 p.m. on a Sunday, public libraries are not open but the UW ones are. Yes, I returned to my college even though I am an alleged full grown-up with a real-person job to use the library!

As soon as I walked into Suzzallo, I knew something was wrong. What once was a room for studying was more than half occupied by rows of snacks to purchase. Well, that’s not going to work, I thought. But then another room that used to be a mini museum/display area, had turned into additional study space so I uncomfortably sat myself down near an outlet (with a table and chair next to said outlet) and tried to act like I belonged.

I know I looked like I blended right in, but I felt like these students knew I did not belong.

I saw a guy in the corner who had earbuds in and was evidently not studying because every few minutes he would burst out in laughter. YouTube videos I am assuming. I noticed a girl across the room eating a carton of Haagen-Dazs ice cream. How can one get work done if she is busy eating a whole carton of ice cream before it all melts? Unless she had a traveling freezer that I didn’t know about …

Clearly I didn’t belong because even though I looked the part (and was wearing a UW shirt — hey, that was not planned since I didn’t know I would end up on campus!) I was there to actually accomplish work. Did my work have to do with writing a story related to Harry Potter? Well, yes, but that doesn’t matter … work is work.

It’s a weird feeling being on campus after having graduated two years ago. Because it was recent but also not-so-recent. Am I still considered a recent grad?

I don’t think going on campus to work will be my go-to place but it is nice to know that it’s always there waiting for me whenever I feel like it. (I may or may not have had to enter my password more than three times in order to get the right one. I’m thankful they allow alumni to log in to use the wifi).

I’ll sacrifice feeling uncomfortable and out of place in order to get (some, not all) work done.

To my class of 2011 cousins

My parents went to Hawaii and left me to water their plants in the backyard and the garden. Though it is a vacation, they are there to celebrate my cousin Marissa’s high school graduation. And next weekend they will be in California to celebrate the high school graduation of my cousin Caitlin.

Even though I am (only?) six years older than them, it is hard to believe that they are graduating high school. Is this what being a parent feels like? What happened to the days of making home videos where we made them do hula? There is still evidence of this on a tape somewhere in our basement …

People tell me I am in “the prime” of my life. I don’t know, finishing high school and entering the next stage in life seems pretty “prime-y” to me. If I had to do college all over again, I don’t think I would do anything differently. Sure, maybe I could have studied harder in those science classes that I was forced to take that had nothing to do with my liberal arts major, but I am sure everyone thinks their grades could have been a bit better. Some wish they would have joined that student club. Or that they took more of a variety of classes. Or maybe wished they had studied abroad. I honestly wouldn’t change a thing. I did everything I wanted to. I hope Marissa and Caitlin begin this next (awesome!) part of life, so that when they look back on it several years down the road, they also wouldn’t want to change a thing.

Marissa and Caitlin, winter 2007

Happy graduation my little class of 2011 cousins! Marissa, we’ll be seeing you soon in the wonderful Pacific Northwest. And Caitlin, come visit us, or I guess we can reunite in Disneyland?

What’s wrong? Why aren’t you drinking?

It’s socially tolerated not to drink though I would not say that it is always socially acceptable. Because if it were, why would people always ask me why I am not drinking?

For those of you not familiar with my drinking history (or, lack thereof,) I did not start drinking until the age of 21. And as a college student who did frequent college parties, some which were at my own college house, I would play beer pong and have a DD (designated drinker) or just had fun without consuming any amount of alcohol — shocking, I know. I didn’t mind though. When people at those parties asked me why I wasn’t drinking, I just responded with “I don’t drink” or “I’m not drinking until I’m 21” and people left me alone. Some even thought it was “cool” that I was waiting until the legal drinking age.

Then I turned 21 and no, I did not go crazy. At midnight of my birthday, my roommates and I drove to QFC where I bought a bottle of champagne and we went back to the house where I drank it in my plastic snowman cup — when you shake it, pieces of “snow” fall! My first drink was with my parents, a lemon drop, as we dined for my birthday downtown that evening. And, my 21-run, was more of a brisk walk.

At the Knarr Bar with my roommates on my 21st birthday

That night I was introduced to shuffleboard, vodka, and my jaw “feeling funny.” My friends will still ask me how my jaw feels whenever I drink … (thanks, guys!)

Now graduated from the college parties invaded by red cups and sticky kitchen floors (ok, I make my appearances from time to time to see my youthful friends,) usually when I am around alcohol, it is with people at the bars. And you know what those people will do when you don’t order a drink? They ask you why you aren’t drinking!

The other weekend I was out with one of my friends and a group of his friends that I had never met before. When one of the girls asked me why I wasn’t drinking, I told her that I was “going through a cleanse.” (Later when I told my friend this, he said: You told her WHAT?) But, hey, she didn’t ask any more questions after that. I usually tell people I am not drinking because I am running/training for a marathon which is usually 50 percent of the time true. Why is it socially acceptable for me to not drink if I am training for a race but not if I just don’t feel like it? Besides, I’m not big on beer and if we are at a place that only serves beer, I’m not going to drink it just because everyone else is. Give me my whiskey sour, please!

Maybe you’re thinking that I am being too sensitive to other people’s perceptions of me. You try going to the bars or a social gathering and not drink while all your friends and acquaintances do. I’m sure at the very least it will make you feel uncomfortable even if no one questions your action. I dare you to try it.

Missing, lost and/or found

When I graduated high school, I really missed — not high school, but — high school cross-country. The girls I trained with and raced against were my best friends. We wore matching hair ribbons in our ponytails on race day. We jumped into Lake Washington on a hot sunny practice and told our coach that “we just got sweaty from our run.” We spent summers going to cross-country camps where we mainly ate, ran, played games, laughed and ate some more — oh! and were introduced to ultimate Frisbee. We pushed each other during tempo runs and hill workouts. Our weekends were not complete unless they included a 9 a.m. Saturday long run at Discovery Park. Of course each of us wanted to do our best, but we wanted each other to do even better — and for the team to do best.

Nothing in my life was ever like high school cross-country. But, I continued to run. Not as part of a team though. I ran for myself. And it felt great. It continues to feel great. And, along the way I have seemed to convince other friends to take up long distance running and race 5ks and marathons with me while some of my high school friends are busy traveling the world, working in New York City, exploring Quebec and teaching kids in a small town in Peru. And, of course, some of those high school friends are nearby and will run Green Lake with me whenever I feel like it, or ask if I want to run an 8k this weekend — yes, I just registered!

In college I discovered a new team: ultimate Frisbee.

Nothing in my life — nearly two years — after graduating college has even come close to college ultimate. The friendships I formed during the four years of playing, were reminiscent of the four years running in high school. But, there’s nothing equivalent to the “team-ness” of college ultimate. We were out practicing in the sleet, rain, snow. I have evidence of a big toenail that I swear got frostbitten after a snowy practice! We were meeting at 7 a.m. for track workouts. We were buying lotto tickets as a “team fundraiser.” We were headed to the airport to return home after a long weekend of college nationals when one of us was too drunk to make it on the plane back.

Element at Regionals 2011

Watching and cheering my heart out at Regionals last weekend reminded me how much I love and miss all of that.

Element at Regionals 2009

But, just as everything else in life, I’ll find something else. Or, maybe not. Look at us! How could I find something better?

Good luck at Nationals, Element and Sundodgers!

Speed dial number 5

A few summers ago, I got into writing character sketches on people I know. Mostly friends and such. This one has been rewritten and tweaked several times. I feel like there is always something I can say better. This person has received this sketch before, but here is the updated one. Version 3.0. Thanks for all that you do.

I’d describe her as driven and focused, but in a hyper and energetic way. She was one of my best friends in college and I met her because we were supposed to be housemates. We had a mutual friend. She ended up bailing on the group so we never lived together, but we somehow ended up being really good friends anyway. Our friendship works out very well because she is an active listener who would put up with all my stories stressing about finals or boys when were in college — now she gets to deal with my complaints about meeting work deadlines. She’s one of the most hilarious people I know because she can make me laugh in person and through e-mails or Facebook posts. I think that says a lot about one’s character when they can make you laugh through written words. And though she doesn’t consider herself a writer — she majored in neurobiology and wants to go to medical school, pshhhh! — she is a pretty darn good writer. She’s always been dedicated to her studies, running, and most importantly — in being my friend and confidant.

If she wasn’t, she wouldn’t be #5 in my speed dial.

And that’s the first available number after voice mail, home and parents’ cell phone numbers, so she must be important.