Notes from Senior Editors

Addie Maxwell
Opinion Editor

I’ve always thought its funny how I’m the opinion section editor. I always say I have no opinions on anything, except apparently drinking, because I’ve written about it several times. In high school I was voted Most Laid Back, I’m an uninformed optimist, so why the heck did they give me this gig?

Q baby with Q Barbie (Photo: The Quindecim)

Q baby with Q Barbie (Photo: The Quindecim)

What I quickly realized was that I didn’t have to write about the government or go on angry rants about the environment to run this section.  While these sorts of things are important and have found a place in my section, opinions can also be about our own, everyday lives.  During my tenure, this is the tone the opinion section has taken.  One of my favorite pieces I wrote was in those first issues.  I wrote about turning twenty-one, an experience all college students share.

I’d like to think that what I choose to write about connects with where the collective “us” is in our lives, that someone finishes my article, nods their head, and says “yeah man, that connects with me.”  I’ve been fortunate enough to, on a few occasions, have those people reach out to me.  The number of times I could probably count on one hand, but in a community that apparently “doesn’t read The Q,” it feels big.

As an editor, I’ve helped facilitate this experience for others.  My writers have had their articles shared in classes, and they’ve received emails from administrators wanting their help editing policies.  I am proud that my section has given students the voice they need and deserve.

As an athlete, this is the kind of work I want to be a part of.  This is why I sit in the office, writing what’s in my soul at four in the morning (it always feels far more profound at that hour).  Because, this matters to the people around me.  If I was writing a paper for class I would go to bed, but when the rush of the team effort, of your words in print, of the possibility of connecting with someone you don’t even know is out there, how can you not write?  It is immediate gratification at its most intellectual, and I hope I’ll be doing it for a long while.

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History of Goucher: The Beginning of Years

Sean Varner
Features Editor

One hundred and twenty two is the atomic number of unbibium. It’s also the greatest number of years a human is documented to have ever lived, the number an Austrian dials when he burns down his home making grilled cheese, and the number of times commencement has been held at Goucher. Or, rather, it will be in a few weeks’ time.

I’m no good at commencements. Never have been. They’ve been a constant train of ill fortunate since kindergarten graduation in 1996. I forgot the lyrics to the Forest Hill Elementary Alma Mater song, you see, and panicked. So I started singing “Hungry Like the Wolf” instead (it was the only song I had memorized; it still probably is), much to the embarrassment of everyone, not least of all to those parents in the audience who were members of the local chapter of the Official Duran Duran Fan Club.

Full steam ahead still went the train at high school graduation. My name was called, I ascended the stairs, took my diploma, and shook the principle’s hand. I could not figure out why, as I continued to shake his hand, his teeth were gnarled in a sort of vengeful smile. Baffled, I continued to shake his hand in hopes of sorting the thing out. I finally gave it up and exited the stage. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw him slightly limping, and only then did I realize I had been standing on his foot.

Goucher’s 122nd Commencement will most likely see a similar unfolding of events. I predict the biggest obstacle will this time be the gowns. Sweltering heat is sure to be with us that day, and the gowns won’t help matters: I’ll be fidgeting in my chair, removing my cap to scratch my itchy head, and discreetly wiping away the sweat from my armpits. Any one of these could result in someone losing an eye. I tell you, I really don’t think the thing would be so severe if it weren’t for the gowns. Aside from making me itchy and sweaty, wearing a gown gives me the unfulfilling idea that I’m Mr. Chips, and that isn’t healthy for anyone.

The first class to graduate from Goucher—in June of 1892—nearly pulled off the remarkable feat of escaping the gowns. I don’t mean they discarded them and strutted around in the nude, or anything. I mean, they almost didn’t have to wear them.

The caps and gowns were ordered from a local clothing firm. As graduation neared, they remained undelivered. Yet, snatching misfortunate from the jaws of luck, the firm delivered them on the day of graduation. Dean Van Meter discovered them as the graduates—all five of them—were already in procession to the ceremony at the church. Van Meter nabbed both the box and, just as they had entered the church doors, the graduates. He hauled all into a small side room, and distributed the garments. All were quickly dressed, then spit out to get their diplomas.

Those fist diplomas would have measured thirteen by sixteen inches in size and been made of parchment. As Anna Heubeck notes, perhaps with a slight sigh of relief, the wording “was to be in English.” The graduates did not as today receive their diplomas alphabetically. Rather, it was decided to present them in the order of their matriculation. So it was that Harriet Stratton Ellis was the first person to ever properly become a graduate of Goucher College.

President Goucher, making his remarks at the event, said the occasion marked for the college “the beginning of years.” But it marks the beginning of years for students, too. Though these years (and this history column) are at their end, mine are just beginning.

Special thanks to Marilyn Warshawsky for sharing her knowledge of Goucher with me whenever I’d write myself into a corner without knowing the facts necessary to get out.

History of Goucher: Goucher Sings

Sean Varner
Features Editor

Recently I came across a video of Elton John. He’s doing a question-and-answer session onstage, when someone challenges him to compose, on the spot, a song to suit the words of a toaster oven instruction manual. John agrees, the challenger hands over the manual, John goes to his piano, and not-a-bad song ensues.

“Amazing,” I said, probably to myself, since browsing the Internet tends to be a solitary activity.  Read more of this post

History of Goucher: Heroines of the Diamond

Sean Varner
Features Editor

Into the bodies of the two boys who were sat in the cramped and hard and sticky seats had penetrated an undulating procession of heat ripples, rising like gas fumes off the scorched day and settling like a haze in their minds. Read more of this post

Goucher History: The Christmas Ornament

Sean Varner
Features Editor

T’was three weeks before Christmas, when all through the Ath, a thousand sat toiling over English and Math—browser tabs open to things they daren’t mention, in hopes their professors would grant them extensions.

Their spent heads were hung, dangling down from their necks, in thought of their lives, which they assumed utter wrecks. When on the Great Lawn, there arose such a clatter, they sprung from their desks to see who the hell interrupted quiet hours.

Away to the windows, they shot in a flash, tripped over each other in quite a mad dash. When, what to their wondering eyes should appear, but a secondhand Chevy and no reindeer. They all pushed and they shoved to see this great cause, and there on the lawn stood old Varner Claus.

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