Monthly Archive: December 2008

Memory Walk: College Living Spaces

My five and a half hour memory walk took me to all of my old living spaces at Santa Clara University, and here are some highlights.

These are the three places I lived at SCU:

1) Swig Hall, the 11-story freshman party dorm. Yes, it is really called Swig, after Benjamin Swig. Upperclassmen delighted in yelling, “WAKE UP, SWIG!” from below as they passed by at all hours of the night. People often set fire to couches outside or threw items off balconies. Always seems like a good idea at the time.

2) McLaughlin Hall, a quieter dorm, for sophomores at the time. I roomed with my friend Charlotte, a fellow Psych major and Type A student. Our best friends Katie and Alicia were next door. I got to stay in McLaughlin for four days and three nights while visiting SCU a couple of weeks ago. I loved every minute.

3) A 2-bedroom apartment in a complex near campus. I lived there with Charlotte, Katie, and Alicia during most of junior year (we all studied abroad during the fall quarter) and senior year. We had a lot of dinners and occasional dance parties, but we were all latecomers to the party scene, and none of us really drank alcohol until after college. Because of the Silicon Valley boom in around the year 2000, I had to share a room during all four years of college, and we paid a pretty penny for doing so.

I’m experimenting with using a captioned slideshow instead of posting full-sized pictures, so leave a comment and let me know what you think. Click a photo, which has a caption underneath, and hover on the right side and click the arrow to advance.








Your Two Cents: Leave a Comment!

What have you remembered by walking around your college living spaces, or just looking at these photos?

Reschooling Tool #12: Memory Walk

During my visit to Santa Clara University, I had a conversation with one of my former Psychology professors that gave me a new understanding of Reschool Yourself. It helped me articulate why it’s important to revisit my schools, and what I’m taking from doing so.

As an SCU student, I had Dr. Jerry Burger as a professor, academic advisor, and supervisor for my thesis research. At the time, I didn’t realize that he was already doing extensive research on a topic closely connected with Reschool Yourself: making a pilgrimage home.

For more than a decade, Dr. Burger has surveyed and interviewed hundreds of people who journeyed back to the places they grew up: schools, playgrounds, local stores, and most importantly, their childhood homes.

“Their quest,” he writes, “was to connect with something only the place could provide.” He adds that he was surprised by “the large number of people who knocked on the door of a former home and asked the current owners if they could look around.  Without exception, the visitors were invited inside.”


Reschooling Tool #11: Get Stuff Done While You’re Healthy

I wish I’d gotten more stuff done this morning before I “Melia’d” my hand. This is what Darren calls the havoc I wreak with my clumsy ways, e.g. “You totally Melia’d that crystal vase!” (Derivation: the term “Munsoned” from the movie Kingpin.) I now realize that I could have been much more productive today if all my fingers were still intact.

This morning I woke up three hours earlier than I wanted to, my mind anxiously whirring as usual with all the things I want to accomplish this week. I’ve been feeling completely overwhelmed by all there is to do before I leave for New Orleans/Jackson in less than a month, including:

  • Get rid of major clutter. Decide what belongings I’m taking with me, and ship most of them.
  • Mine my copious notes to see what kind of follow-up I need to do at the schools, and arrange the visits.
  • Coordinate details for a visiting documentary director who will be filming me at the schools for two days in January. (Yes, exciting!)
  • Do preliminary research on grad schools in the Bay Area and try to meet with professors before I leave.
  • Work part-time at my dad’s office and develop an online training manual.
  • With Darren’s help, build a new website for my dad’s business, and for my freelance writing.
  • Schedule meetups with various friends to say goodbye (for now).
  • Oh, and there’s that Christmas thing. Thankfully, it’ll be a mostly no-present Christmas in my circles.


Reschooling Tool #10: Self-Reflective Forwards

I haven’t done one of these internet forwards in ages, but they are oh-so entertaining. I prefer to think of them not as “a waste of hours of my life,” but rather “an important opportunity for self-reflection.”

Though they can be as self-indulgent as a love letter to yourself, forwards like this are actually helpful for regularly practicing introspection and recognizing what makes you an interesting person. Plus, they’re awesome for procrastinating what you’re actually supposed to be doing right now. Enjoy.


Thank you for Amazoning!

Just a quick note to say thanks to those of you who are using my link to enter the Amazon website. In just a few days, the total is nearing $70, which is incredibly awesome for something that doesn’t cost either of us anything. The number of purchases has increased my referral rate; now 6.5% of anything you buy through the link (electronics, housewares, etc.) will go to Reschool Yourself. You can now click on the Amazon logo in the upper right corner of the homepage and then shop as usual. Even though the Reschool Yourself code disappears from the URL, it’s still tracking.

Since I used to work for a wonderful independent bookstore, Readers’ Books, I must encourage you to buy books from your local indie bookshop (or from the Readers’ website). But if you are shopping Amazon anyway, especially for non-book items, please use the link. Thank you!

Remember This? #33 College Dining Hall

The Benson Memorial Center dining commons, the place where I had ever so many a meal. This woman was there when I was in school and actually remembered me. I ate my favorite SCU breakfast, scrambled eggs and tater tots (pictured above), two days in a row. I doused them with ketchup, and their greasy goodness tasted wonderful….and then sat heavily in my stomach all day. It was worth it. Since I rarely eat fried foods, I simply had to eat all of those tater tots when given the chance.

To see the pictures below as a slideshow, click on one to enlarge it and then hover with your mouse on the right edge until the arrow appears.


When ordering, I noticed a common type of exchange between one of the cafeteria workers and a student. The worker was a Latina woman with a heavy accent who asked the girl, who was Caucasian, what she would like to order. The girl asked for “Just eggs.” The woman began piling tater tots on the plate, and the girl repeated, “No, just eggs.” The worker nodded and started adding eggs to the plate, and the girl said loudly, “No tater tots, just eggs.” Her tone wasn’t disrespectful, but she was becoming understandably frustrated at not being understood. Observing this reminded me of this type of uncomfortable tension between private school students and the older immigrants who serve them. I remember that when I was a student, noticing my relative privilege made me feel both grateful and guilty. I’m still not quite sure what to make of it.


Reschooling this Spring, at Home and Abroad

I know I’m putting off something when I look desperately for just one more email to answer, and when I serve myself a bowl of chocolate sorbet and then go back to the freezer for two extra servings. Now I’m chewing my fingernails down to nubs. All this restlessness comes from a resistance to writing about the spring phase of Reschool Yourself.

I’ve been resistant to writing about my spring plans because they’ve changed somewhat since I envisioned the project almost a year ago. At the time, I was working 50-60 hours per week, and nothing sounded better than taking a learning adventure around the world. Thailand, China, New Zealand, Argentina, Egypt….I couldn’t wait to visit them all.

Since the summer, however, my wanderlust has turned into a craving for stability and structure. I’ve been nomadic and scattered, moving from San Francisco to Sonoma and traveling to all corners of North America for conferences and visits with friends, family, and my partner, Darren. I’ve felt unsettled by having most of my worldly goods stacked in my parents’ garage, and by living out of a suitcase for weeks at a time. My most grounded moments have been at Darren’s apartment in Mississippi, when we’ve stayed close to home and developed a healthy daily routine. I still have the desire to travel far and wide, and I may still do it this year, but first I need to ground myself.


Newsflash: Fall Budget Fully Funded!

This morning an anonymous donor surprised me by fully funding the rest of the fall budget. I am speechless at this generosity. THANK YOU! I am incredibly grateful.

I’m now able to turn my attention to documenting the fall phase and planning the spring phase. Spring plans will involve reschooling at home and through travels and leveraging the project to make change in the education system. Details this week, pinkie swear. If you’d like to contribute, visit the updated sponsor page. (I’ve also updated the FAQ page.)

A huge thank-you once again to all who made this possible: sponsors, readers, and especially my partner Darren for designing and helping to maintain the site (and lending his unwavering support). There are many exciting developments to come!