Operation: A Very Muddy Birthday

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 by Sam


It’s been a while since I’ve posted–homework, tests, and the general awesome insanity that is life at Mudd intervening and all–and so a lot has happened in the past few weeks. Thanksgiving has already come and gone, with all of the food and family it might bring. I got a chance to spend time with my family in the San Diego area, as well as getting a nice little break to rest and relax before jumping back into Mudd life and finishing up my very first semester here.

Yet something I also look forward to in November fell on the weekend before Thanksgiving break: I celebrated my 19th birthday on the 17th.

Another year older, and compared to my last birthday, I’d definitely have to say I’m quite a bit wiser, especially when it comes to things about real life that I’ve learned from Mudd.

This birthday was, in all honesty, one of my favorites that I can remember, as well as one of the stranger ones. Firstly, why it was so strange to me: I’m a fraternal twin (have been all my life, actually :) ), and it was more than a little odd not sharing it with my twin Mandy, who studies down at the University of San Diego. One of the largest changes since coming to college is not seeing her day in and day out for me; after nearly 18 years of attending the same school and living in the same house, being only connected by phone or Skype is pretty unusual. And yet, like a lot of the changes I’ve experienced since coming to college, this change brings me closer to what real life in the future will bring me: living on my own, being independent and most likely living away from family. While we’ve always been different (or, as I might contend, very different), the independence that comes from living several hours, or in the case of my parents, thousands of miles away, is a bit of a stark realization. And yet at the same time, managing life on my own pretty well so far let’s me  know that I can be successful on my own, regardless of whether my support network is hours or days away from me physically.

My twin and I
Mandy (r) and I (l) during Thanksgiving break in the desert. How I was wishing for sunglasses at that moment.

Even though this year is the first in what will probably be many of celebrating my birthday separately from my sister, it was also incredibly special because of the amazing people around me who helped make it great regardless.

Although I will admit, maybe my definition of “amazing” might vary slightly from other people. There wasn’t a “My Super Sweet Sixteen Nineteen” kind of bash, or any party at all beyond our normal Friday night shenanigans; no crazy presents (although I would totally take a car, if anyone’s offering). My version of amazing is how my dorm, suite and room mate(s) helped me celebrate getting a little bit older.

My fabulous roommate Paula made me a Powerpoint parody of the one song that is, in all honesty my Kryptonite, and performed it for me. Well, performed it as I literally had to hold on to a chair to not fall down, I was so over come by emotion (read: intense laughter). I’d share a link, but that would be bad form, potentially allowing my weakness to fall into the wrong hands.

My suite mates, Maddi and Amy, aided by other the skills of Angela and possibly a few other of our fellow West members, brought me back chocolate chip cookies from the dining hall while I had a dinner engagement in Claremont Village for an Admissions event. Another potential weakness of mine, as my friends know, is my serious love for the cookies at the Hoch, our dining hall. I could wax poetically for quite a while on them, and some of the ladies of West were kind enough to feed both me and my love for the most amazing chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had. Amy, having done a quick run to Trader Joe’s earlier in the week, was also nice enough to hide a birthday Drumstick in my freezer, which was promptly eaten, after many exclamations of how great my suite mates are.

The cards (and hiding place of a certain ice cream related object) my suite mates were awesome enough to make me!

My suite mates also went a bit more of a traditional route, and drew–by hand–cards that remind me of how much fun we have together while we do homework and hang out together. Along with the beautifully rendered cards, I’m pretty sure more people wished me a happy birthday than I can ever remember. Which is also one of the best things about Mudd that my birthday reminded me of; we are a community that cares deeply for one another, whether that means picking up someone’s spilled books from the sidewalk for them, or wishing them a sincere “happy birthday!” when you see them round the corner of the building just past midnight. We might have only known each other for the past few months, but my entire suite is filled with some of the coolest people I know. And I can, in all seriousness (even more serious than my love for Hoch cookies) say that I have some of the greatest friends possible who helped me have a truly amazing birthday celebration.

Mudd has made me wiser about a lot of things, but on my birthday it truly reminded me just how strong, vibrant and caring our community is. Who you surround yourself with can make all the difference, and I’m more thankful than ever to be able to call myself a Mudder and be surrounded by some of the most amazing people possible. And I know that when I leave Mudd, all of the lessons I’ve learned–both about academics and real life–will be some of the most important lessons I could have gained. And I can only image all the lessons Mudd will teach me before my next birthday.