The State of the Finch

This has been a year of beginnings and ends, floundering and flourishing–a year of memories.

The adventures and misadventures of this year:

  1. I visited Mary Baldwin College for the first time, and fell in love.
  2. I developed an entire unit about A Thousand Splendid Suns for my senior students.
  3. I chatted with Michael Attenborough about As You Like It
  4. I was attached by a rabbit and have the scar to prove it.
  5. I met my neighbors for the first (and last) time as well all worked to dig out our cars from the snow.
  6. I got my students really engaged and interested in The Tempest and me, on my second to last day in the classroom.
  7. I called 911 for the first time.
  8. I buzzed the side of my head for an asymmetrical haircut.
  9. I spoke to my classmates about change and identity at the baccalaureate service.
  10. I said goodbye to Messiah College.
  11. I moved home.
  12. I experienced desperation and kindness in the search for a summer job.
  13. I danced like a monster at weddings and had no regrets.
  14. I fulfilled my childhood dream and became a “bologna cooker.”
  15. I said goodbye to my younger brother in thirty seconds as he left for West Point.
  16. I cried looking at the Milky Way in the mountains of Colorado.
  17. I went to the emergency room.
  18. I learned the basics on drumming.
  19. I applied to one grad school, and got in.
  20. I moved to Staunton Virginia, a year after I first visited and told myself I would one day live there.
  21. I was a bridesmaid and cried like a cliche romcom character.
  22. I not only played Hamlet in a scene, but thanks to amazing scene partners and a superb director, I got to explore him.
  23. I saw more lovely theatre than ever before, and have every intention to break that record this year.
  24. I cried listening to a lecture about Bottom in A Midsummer Nights Dream.
  25. I met brilliant Shakespearean scholars and didn’t make a complete idiot of myself.
  26. I shared a meal with two strangers because there were no more tables open.
  27. I was in a staged reading within a month of being in VA.
  28. I found that my classmates were more inspiring, challenging, and affirming than I could have ever imagined.
  29. I had a countless number of lazy days with my better half Alison.
  30. I played Dutch Blitz until I hated my entire family.
  31. I ran into the ocean with my four favorite people on Christmas Eve.
  32. I laughed until my sides hurt at a comedy show in NYC.

This has been an incredible year. For the majority of it, I have felt compelled to remind myself “Yes, this is real.” But more than my situation–where I live, what I study, etc.–the people that surround me take my breath away. The kindness, intelligence, humour, and humanity that I see around me astounds me. Without all of the people in my life, caring for me, checking in on me, encouraging me, this year would not have been the year it was. So thank you to all of those who have been with me through this year; I look forward to the next.

 

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Baccalaureate Speech: Identity

I was asked to speak at my baccalaureate speech at Messiah College for the graduating class of 2015. Some people have expressed interest in having a copy of my speech, so I decided this was as good a place as any to post it! Enjoy:

In recent months, I’ve noticed a common term cropping up in articles and books (and baccalaureate speeches) geared towards my demographic: the quarter-life crisis. And that term seems to encapsulate the identity crisis most of us feel on the brink of. To compensate, quizzes clog our newsfeeds offering to figure out what color we are and what our name means and which character from that cult classic film we should date. In 140 characters, we announce to the world what we are thinking, and we broadcast our adventures—whether they are running a marathon or marathoning a TV show—through Instagram. I will admit, I carefully tailor my different social media accounts—Facebook, Twitter, and blog—to appeal to the people that frequent them. On those platforms, I craft my identity: I choose exactly who sees what and where and when as well as what filter or hashtag accompanies it.

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